Hymnus Deo

Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Clash of the Titans - A Movie Review (So-Called)

First, let me say that I made a mistake of glancing at a review of "Clash of the Titans" by Brian Godawa before going to see it today, so what I'm about to write will be partly derivative and responsive to him.

There are a few commonly-known observations I could make about the movie up front. For one, it's a remake of the 1981 movie of the same name. Both, of course, are more or less based on the ancient Greek myth of Perseus. For those who have seen the old film, as well as the trailer for the new film, it will be apparent that some of the cheesiness of the original has been dispensed with. That, of course, is a welcome change.

The new movie itself is just under two hours long. For those who aren't conscious of such things, let me note for you that this generally means you should expect minimal character development. This is especially true of action films, which tend to suffer in that area to begin with. And it is true of this film. The audience is expected to believe that, after knowing each other for only a few days (or forty-five minutes, depending on how you want to time it), there is supposed to be some sort of deep, abiding bond between the heroes. Kind of like those really close, long-lasting relationships you still have with all those people you spent a week at summer camp with as a kid. The standard movie tricks are utilized in an attempt to deceive the audience this way, deep abiding stares and the like. Whether or not the general public will find all this convincing I don't know - I know I didn't.

The short time span of the film also indicates the fact that one can expect constant action. I didn't time them, but I would guess the breaks in action couldn't have been more than sixty seconds each. So for every action scene, that's two dead brain cells per second, times sixty seconds per minute...

The CGI and cinematography were beautiful, and that is one plus that the film had. And the endless aforementioned action scenes were at least entertaining, if not contributing to the intellectual depth of the viewer. The film had a particularly dark cast to it, much like the Lord of the Rings films. In fact, the was much here that reminded one of the Lord of the Rings films - or, rather, seemed like a deliberate imitation thereof. Minus, that is, nine or ten hours of movie time that allowed for conversation, travel, character development, etc. All the stuff that made Lord of the Rings convincing and interesting, in other words.

Brian Godawa noted in his review that the theme of the film is Humanism, and he is correct. Mankind has grown angry with the gods, but the gods have brought judgment on mankind for failing to offer their worship to them. And the answer is supposed to come in one who is half-man, half-god, namely Perseus. Whether this is supposed by the film makers to be a bastardization of the two natures of Christ one can only speculate. Godawa notes a line by Zeus at the end of the film, in which he says, "I wanted men to worship me. But I didn't want it to cost me a son." He suggests that was intended to be a clear contrast with Christianity. Perhaps it was. But demigods were a part of ancient Greek myth, and Perseus was a demigod in Greek mythology, and the actual son of Zeus. So to suppose that the film makers intended that as a slap in the face of Christianity is a conclusion one can't fully come to. Nonetheless, there do seem to be clear indications that portions of the film were shaped by modern notions of religious fundamentalism, and especially Christian Fundamentalism. The portrayal of organized religion in particular in the film has an especially modern (or postmodern) feel to it, and clearly suggests that religious institutions are untrustworthy, and filled with fools and con-artists. That this is a common view today, held by those who claim to be Christians, and those who don't, should be well-known. As a side note, I personally recognize the failures of the church, and know her leaders aren't perfect. And anyone who knows me is aware that I am more than happy to offer critiques of the church where I think it's appropriate to do so. But when I run across people who know little Scripture, little church history, and little theology, who then attempt to critique the church, my patience runs thin with them. Such people generally shouldn't be listened to. This not only characterizes my reaction to people I talk to who are like this, but my reaction to this film as well. It struck me as a particularly ignorant critique of organized religion. The sad thing is that with the ignorance of the average viewer, the critique will be effective, and will contribute to the further idolatry of self, of Humanism, in our society.

In the end, Perseus rejects an offer to dwell among the gods rather than men. The gods are not really needed, it seems. Or make that organized religion. "Imagine there's no heaven...."

Lastly, I would like to note Liam Neeson's role as Zeus in this film. Now that he's played Aslan (the Christ figure), and Zeus, I think he should continue to increase his deity resume. I would recommend sending him to India, and letting him play Lord Vishnu in some Bollywood film. While he's gone, perhaps another actor could fill in as Aslan in the next Narnia film - someone with a less wimpy voice.

So the film was fun, but watch out for the worldview. That's the short of it. I'll give it three stars out of five for the entertainment value alone, but I'm being generous - that thing those of us in that organized religion called "Christianity" do.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

But the King Knew Her Not

Now King David was old and advanced in years. And although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm.
Therefore his servants said to him, "Let a young woman be sought for my lord the king, and let her wait on the king and be in his service. Let her lie in your arms, that my lord the king may be warm."
So they sought for a beautiful young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
The young woman was very beautiful, and she was of service to the king and attended to him, but the king knew her not.

(1 Kings 1:1-4)

This passage is one that has intrigued me for a long time. Here, in the opening of 1 Kings, we see King David, the mighty warrior-king of Yahweh, in the twilight of his years. The one who once wrote that he could leap over a wall by the strength of the LORD (Psalm 18:29) now finds himself a frail old man, unable to even keep his own body warm. And so his servants find for him a beautiful young woman to lie in his arms and to serve him. Most importantly, we are told he "knew her not", or did not have sex with her.

So why are we told of this seemingly minor incident in David's life? All Scripture certainly has a purpose (2 Timothy 3:16), so this story isn't included without a reason. And while there may be a few reasons, I think it's primarily in order to show us that David repented of his earlier sins, and learned from them.

David had taken the wife of Urriah the Hittite and slept with her. When she became pregnant, he brought Urriah home from battle and tried to arrange circumstances so that he would sleep with her in order to cover up David's sin. And when that failed, David had Urriah put in a place in battle such that it would be impossible for him to live. Once Urriah was dead, David took Bathsheba as his own wife (2 Samuel 11).

But David paid no small consequences for his actions. First, the child of David that Bathsheba was carrying died after a few days (2 Sam. 12:15-23). Then, David's son Amnon violated his sister Tamar (2 Sam. 13:1-22). In vengeance for this, David's son Absalom killed Amnon (2 Sam. 13:23-39), and then took David's kingdom from him for a period of time (2 Sam. 15-18), which included sleeping with David's concubines in a tent on the roof of the king's palace, a public display designed to humiliate and discredit the king (2 Sam. 16:20-23). David eventually regained his kingdom, but only after his son Absalom was killed in battle, specifically against David's wishes (2 Sam. 18).

His daughter's purity taken, and three of his children killed. David was certainly left with no small measure of grief for his sin. In one sense, this was the LORD's doing, as Nathan the prophet had said it would be (2 Sam. 12:14). And yet in another sense, this is the natural outcome of failed leadership. Those in authority who fail to act according to the revealed will of God reap terrible consequences later on, and bring destruction upon those under their care. And a person always reaps what they sow. If one sows the seeds of sexual immorality, then sexual immorality is what will be harvested. For those who are called to lead others, this will be true not only in their own lives, but in the lives of those they lead. Leaders are not only to strive to be an example; they inevitably are an example. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). Likewise, train up a child in the way he shouldn't go, and he will go that way, with little variance.

That this is to be our point of reflection when considering this passage should be of no doubt. Following after verse four, we see that another of David's sons, Adonijah the son of Haggith, sought to take the kingship from David as well. David's rebellion toward God set a pattern to be followed, and created a house of rebellious children. And yet, in a strange turn of Providence, it is Bathsheba and Solomon, along with Nathan the prophet, who had confronted David about his sin with Bathsheba, who work together to save David from losing the kingdom to Adonijah (1 Kings 1). God indeed makes beauty from ashes.

Yet the ashes are real. There are real consequences for sin. In the average believer, sin and its consequences are terrifying enough. But for those called to lead others, the seriousness is on a different level altogether. One can only imagine the weight David carried on his shoulders for the rest of his life. Pierce Pettis sought to capture David's sorrow over the death of Absalom, in his song entitled "Absalom":

Come and smear me with the branches of that tree
Hyssop dipped in innocent blood to make me clean
Let an old man's broken bones once more rejoice
Oh Absalom, you were my little boy

Absalom, Absalom
My son, my son, my son
Caught in the tangles of deceit
Hanging lifeless from that tree

Absalom, Absalom
My son, my son, my son
Caught in the tangles of your hair
Fruit of my own sins to bear
Oh Absalom

You were the laughing boy who danced upon my knee
You learned to play the harp and use the shepherd's sling
Always watching, my impressionable son
Oh, Absalom, what have I done?

You were watching when I took a good man's wife
Gave the order for his murder just to cover up the crime
All the vanity, cruel arrogance and greed
Oh Absalom, you learned it all from me

Absalom, Absalom
My son, my son, my son
Caught in the tangles of deceit
Hanging lifeless from that tree

Absalom, Absalom
My son, my son, my son
Caught in the tangles of your hair
Fruit of my own sins to bear
Oh Absalom

Absalom by a strange twist becomes a picture of Christ. Caught by his hair in a tree, he is put to death against David's wishes. Yet by the law he was cursed - "Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree" (Deut. 21:22-23; Gal. 3:13). Absalom was cursed for his sins, and put to death. But Christ, of whom Absalom was a type, was cursed for sins that were not his, and died in our place.

Yet Absalom was not the last of David's children to die as a result of rebellion against God. Though Adonijah was pardoned at first for seeking to take the kingdom, Solomon later had him killed for seeking the hand of Abishag the Shunammite in marriage, which Solomon no doubt saw as an act of usurpation, such as was done by Absalom in sleeping with David's concubines (1 Kings 2:19-27).

The death of Adonijah occurred after David's death. But it wasn't the end of consequences for David's sins. Solomon himself walked in the ways of his father, multiplying wives and concubines, even from pagan nations, and allowed them to turn his heart after false gods. The kingdom split apart because of this after Solomon's death, and never returned to the state it was in during the days of David (1 Kings 11:1-13).

And this all occurred because David, rather than being with his troops in battle during the time of year that kings were at war, decided to take a leisurely walk upon his roof, and failed to turn away his eyes when he saw a woman bathing (2 Sam. 11:1-2).

David didn't live to see all the consequences of his sin. Others were left to deal with them long after he was gone. And yet he saw enough sorrow in his own life as a result of what he had done, that he did not have any sexual involvement with Abishag the Shunammite.

It is said that it is better to learn from mistakes than not to learn from them. But the best mistakes to learn from are someone else's. David learned the hard way. We are given in his life an example, both to follow, and not to follow. In a time when the church has grown casual in its approach to holiness, we have a great need to return to Scripture, and to meditate on both its explicit teachings and its examples, of which David is one. May we, like David, repent of our sins. And may we, unlike David, prize holiness above all, so that we need not walk in the steps of his sorrow.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened - a Book Review

This book contains three essays that were originally delivered in lecture form at the "Symposium for Church and Academy", held at Crichton College. The first two lectures, on Jesus' Crucifixion and Burial respectively, were given by Craig A. Evans, while the last one, on Jesus' Resurrection, was given by N. T. Wright. They offer a New Perspective reading of the three events, though in a rather compact form, as each essay is the written equivalent of only one lecture. In spite of their brevity, there is much good material here. The essays are really designed for those, however, who haven't encountered a New Perspective approach to these matters. Those who have read much of what, say, Wright has written, will probably not find anything earth-shaking here. Wright's essay, in fact, is simply an abbreviated form of his book Surprised by Hope, itself an abbreviated form of his book The Resurrection of the Son of God.

And while there is much good material here, I can't help but have one major qualm, and that has to do with the authors' general approach to Scripture. These essays, as much of the authors' other works do, have a particularly apologetic quality about them. They are seeking to defend the Scripture's testimony regarding the events of Jesus' trial, death, burial, and resurrection, of which they do a very good job. And yet, in so doing, they seem to me to give up the ship. The major problem, it seems to me, is that they both begin by granting to the skeptic the possibility that Scripture's report of the facts may not actually be true, thereby compromising it as the inerrant Word of God. Both scholars, within the context of their respective essays, affirm the possibility of errors within the text of Scripture itself. Now I appreciate the work both men have done in interacting with more liberal scholars, in an attempt to recover a reliable view of God's Word. But if we can't hold to the view that all of the Bible is without error, then we are tearing the foundation out from under the building we're seeking to construct. For this reason, I couldn't recommend this book to the average reader. For someone who is well-versed in Scripture, as well as historic and systematic theology, this might be a helpful read. But the average reader would do better to turn their attention toward some of the apologetic works produced by more Evangelical and Reformed scholars.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Joshua 13-19, the Distribution of the Land of Israel

I have no clue how to format this properly, so I hope it isn't too hard to follow.


Joshua 13-19, the Distribution of the Land of Israel

I.) Distribution of Transjordan (13)

Prologue to the Distribution of Transjordan (13:1-7)

A.) Distribution of Transjordan (13:8-13)
1.) Reuben - Leah
2.) Gad - Leah's servant Zilpah
3.) Manasseh - Rachel

B.) Levites' Inheritance was the Offerings of the LORD (13:14)
A'.) Distribution of the Transjordan by Tribe, Detailed (13:15-32)
B'.) Levites' Inheritance was the LORD (13:33)

II.)Distribution of West Jordan (14-19)

Prologue to the Distribution of West Jordan (14:1-5)

A.) Caleb's Inheritance, First Part (14:6-15)
B.) Judah's Boundary Lines (15:1-12) - Leah
A'.) Caleb's Inheritance, Second Part (15:13-19)
B'.) Judah's Cities (15:20-63)

C.) Prologue to the Distribution of the Land to Joseph, Boundary of the Land (16:1-4) - Rachel
D.) Ephraim's Allotment (16:5-10)
D'.) Manasseh's Allotment (17:1-13)
C'.) Epilogue to the Distribution of the Land to Joseph, Boundary Expanded

E.) Prologue to the Distribution to the Remaining Seven Tribes (18:1-10)
1.) Israel at Shiloh, Tent of Meeting and land (18:1)
2.) Joshua rebukes Israel for not taking possession, and takes steps toward conquering the land (18:2-10)

a.) Benjamin (18:11-28) - Rachel
b.) Simeon (19:1-9) - Leah
c.) Zebulun (19:10-16) - Leah
d.) Issachar (19:17-23) - Leah
e.) Asher (19:24-31) - Leah's servant Zilpah
f.) Naphtali (19:32-39) - Rachel's servant Bilhah
g.) Dan (19:40-48) - Rachel's servant Bilhah

E'.) Epilogue to the Distribution to the Remaining Seven Tribes, Epilogue to the Distribution of West Jordan (19:49-51)
2'.) Joshua receives land and he conquers it (19:49-50)
1'.) Israel's representatives at Shiloh, Tent of Meeting and land (19:51)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Evangelicalism, and the Use and Misuse of Art

We tend to move slow as molasses in Bible study. That would, of course, be my fault. I can be incredibly long-winded for an introvert. (To defend myself a little, I might also note that there are many, many symbols in Revelation, and adequately explaining their significance takes some time. At least, that's my excuse.) The result is that I've been studied up ahead of schedule for a while now, and I've been able to turn my attention to other things. I've had in mind to read a couple of books that have been popular in Christian circles over the past few years, so I can intelligently interact with other believers about them, and maybe even write a critique or two. After a few pages of each, however, I was ready to shoot myself in the head. Evangelicals just don't know how to write. When I have reactions like that, though, I try to back up and give my own criticism some criticism. Perhaps I am being hasty in my response? I decided the best thing to do would be to take the time to read some classic literature - to sort of remind myself of what good literature is like, in order to offer a reasonable critique of the Christian literature in question. So I've read some short stories, and a couple of novels. Perhaps most importantly, I've returned to reading some of the works of Flannery O'Connor, both her fiction and non-fiction.

Few people understand fiction - or art in general - the way that O'Connor did. After her death, a collection of her essays was published, entitled Mystery and Manners. Out of all that I've read on art, this book stands near or at the top of the list. She discusses what it is to be a fiction writer, giving special attention to her status as a Southerner and a Catholic Christian. While she was a highly intelligent woman (she read a portion of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas every night before she went to sleep), her non-fiction writing was no-nonsense. Her are a couple of my favourite quotes from her, which I've posted before, but which bear repeating:

“Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.”

"People have a habit of saying, 'What is the theme of your story?' and they expect you to give them a statement: 'The theme of my story is the economic pressure of the machine on the middle class' - or some such absurdity. And when they've got a statement like that, they go off happy and feel it is no longer necessary to read the story... Some people have the notion that you read the story and then climb out of it into the meaning, but for the fiction writer himself the whole story is the meaning, because it is an experience, not an abstraction."

The second quote, I believe, is especially important in considering the question of so-called Christian art. Along with considering popular Christian literature, I've been listening to some Contemporary Christian radio stations, mainly out of curiosity. There's alot I've noticed, but one thing I've learned that's relevant here concerns the purpose of Christian art. I've realized that its purpose, generally speaking, is not that the form of the art itself in any way be for the good of the individual participating in it. Rather, the form of the art is merely as a vehicle for communicating a message. In fact, I've even heard popular CCM artists admit as much. The "art", to the degree that it is art, is simply Utilitarian, or Pragmatic, in its reason for being. Cultural critic Ken Myers notes this in his book All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes, as he compares Popular Culture with Traditional and High Cultures. He points out that in Popular Culture, art is something that's used. In Traditional and High Cultures, however, art is something that is received. In other words, in Popular Culture, the art is something that I am sovereign over, which must submit to me. It meets me where I am, and raises me no higher. But the art of Traditional and High Cultures require that the participant submit to it. It is greater than the participant, and challenges him to ascend beyond himself.

The fact that Evangelicalism, in its worship, its music, its teaching, and so on, tends to make chief the idea of God meeting us where we're at seems no coincidence here. As in Popular Culture, whether Christian or non-Christian, the God of Evangelicalism is Immanent, and never any different. He is common, and in no way mysterious. There is no room for what is communicated by Traditional and High Cultures - a God who is Transcendent, who demands we approach Him in reverence and with awe. I have been in many different churches over the past several years, and in all of the ones that are Contemporary in their approach to worship, this has been true. If there is any fear of God before their eyes, it sure doesn't come out in the way they worship.

My point in all this is to note that Evangelicals seem to not understand the importance of form. They only see Scripture as a summary of the Gospel and a few good teachings, and they don't think the form of it really matters. Consequently, large chunks of it go unexamined. Just as O'Connor noted in the way some people approach her stories, so we tend to approach Scripture. We want to take it, shake out the chaff, and keep the wheat. But all of Scripture is inspired, including those portions of Numbers that seem totally irrelevant to your life. None of it is chaff.

We think the way we do ministry or worship doesn't matter. As long as the message gets across, then we've done our job. And yet think of how contrary to Scripture this way of thinking is. Just look at how many pages of Scripture are devoted to the constructing of the Tabernacle and the Temple (both Solomon's and Ezekiel's). Look at the attention given to the dividing of the land of Israel in the Book of Joshua. Consider the detailed way in which Israel was to march and to camp while in the wilderness. If Scripture reveals the character of God - and it does - then these and other passages would suggest that our God is One to whom form, matter, and order are important. Just as with O'Connor, if you want to know the meaning of God's Story, then you need to learn the whole Story, because the whole Story is the meaning.

And so, leaving aside a critique of any specific musician or author, I would encourage my fellow believers to think more carefully about the forms of media they participate in. In fact, here's an idea. Insofar as it is in your power, take a period of time - at least a month - and separate yourself from all forms of popular media. That includes TV, movies, and music. It's especially important that you stay away from commercial TV and radio. Take the time to engage more fully in prayer, in meditation, in silence. Shop as little as possible. Stay away particularly from Christian stores. Read some classic Christian literature - don't read anything written in the past twenty years. C. S. Lewis is very accessible, and would be a good choice. It would be good to read some classic literature that isn't specifically Christian as well. If you listen to music, listen to some classical, or traditional folk music, whether American, or of some other culture. Once the time is up, go back and begin to live as you had before. See if you respond to your old music and TV the way you used to. If you are open to the experiment, I expect you will find yourself a changed person, and that for the better.


Easter was day before yesterday, and as most Americans (especially Protestants) celebrate Holy Days, Easter ended day before yesterday. But traditionally the Church has recognized the whole period from Easter until Pentecost to be Easter Season, also called Eastertide. Jesus' death fell exactly in line with Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as was established by Yahweh in the Jewish calendar as a part of the Mosaic Law. It also fell such that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, the day after the Sabbath, the typological Eighth Day. This established our celebration of Holy Week, as well as the New Covenant Sabbath, which we call Sunday (Leviticus 23:3-8). Forty days later Jesus ascended to Heaven and took His place on David's throne, from which He now reigns the universe. The Church has traditionally observed that day as Ascension Day. Ten days after his ascension was Pentecost, also called the Feast of Weeks, originally established in the Mosaic Law. In Acts, we are told that the Spirit descended upon the Church during the Feast of Pentecost. And so the Church has historically celebrated Pentecost as the day of its birth. This is the beginning of Ordinary Time, or the Trinity Season, as it is sometimes called. Trinity Season lasts until Advent. The point of all this is to say that we in America tend to observe only part of the Church calendar. The calendar most of us actually observe is a secular calendar, as established by the civil government, a mixture of Christian holidays and state holidays. But the Church is perpetual; no State is. As Alexander Schmemann said, man is by nature liturgical. It is inevitable that we will mark times and seasons. The question is: will we mark them by Redemptive History, or by the false narrative of a Secular History? I think we are wise to prefer the former.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Why I Won't Go to a Seder

As I begin writing this, it is the night of Maundy Thursday. Traditionally on this day the church has remembered Jesus' upper room discourse and the establishing of the Eucharist. This has usually involved a standard corporate worship service in which the congregation has partaken of Communion. It has sometimes also included the practice of the washing of one another's feet, and/or the "stripping of the altar", which involves the removal of all celebratory items from the altar and the sanctuary.

It seems to have become more common in recent years, however, to observe the Passover Seder feast on or on a day near Maundy Thursday. I've known of individual families to do this in their homes, but I hear more and more of local congregations observing it together. The Seder is still a traditional Jewish practice. But I'm a bit baffled as to why Christian congregations would want to do it. I can't pinpoint the origin of observing the Seder in modern Christian churches exactly. It might have begun among Messianic Jewish congregations; I'm not certain. But the idea seems to have really taken off in Evangelical (that is, non-Reformed) churches. And now, I find some traditional liturgical churches are taking up the practice.

The logic seems to be thus: Christ celebrated the Passover feast with his disciples on the night in which he was betrayed, i. e. Maundy Thursday. It is reasonable then, it is thought, for us to celebrate it as well. Also, it supposedly brings us more in touch with our Jewish heritage.

The fact that it has been predominant among Evangelicals, though, suggests to me that a couple of other things are going on. For one thing, there is the obsession with all things Jewish that is common among Evangelicals, and which is fueled by a Dispensational misunderstanding of Scripture. In spite of the clear teaching of the New Testament that the Church, made up of both Jews and Gentiles, is now God's Chosen People, we hanker after Jewish practices with the jealousy of the second favorite child. ("Oh, to be loved as much as the Jews! Too bad the Church is Plan B." Thankfully, that isn't the case.) I also think the dearth of a deep liturgical practice and culture in the Evangelical church is to blame. In ancient cultures - Jewish or otherwise - there is a strong draw upon modern American Evangelicals who find a great lack of the nobility of age in their own culture and church life. The answer to this, of course, is the ancient Christian liturgy (we are Christians, after all) and not a Jewish - or non-Christian - liturgy.

Beyond this sort of socio-theological analysis, though, I would suggest that this is an inappropriate thing for a church to do. And the reason is simple - we aren't Jews. We live in the New Covenant, and the Seder is an Old Covenant practice. Just as it would be inappropriate to sacrifice bulls and goats to God as an offering in the manner of the Tabernacle system, so it is inappropriate to observe the Seder. At the Last Supper, our Lord replaced the Passover with the Eucharist. That is now our ritual meal. In it, we feed on His Body and Blood, as he has commanded us to. To go back to the Passover Seder is to return to the shadows of the Old Covenant, a thing which Scripture strongly condemns.

Now if a family wants to do a mock Seder as a sort of homeschool learning tool, I could see that as permissible. The original Seder was celebrated in individual homes anyway, so why there would be a trend to bring it into the church is a bit strange anyway. But it must be clear that it isn't a ritual meal for today. The Old has gone away; all things have been made New.