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                                                      Christian Love Feasts


If interested, consider the following article from Open Love Christian Community at their  OLCC WEBSITE  at  
http://www.geocities.com/openlcc/olcc.html

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 As Strong's Greek Dictionary confirms the word Agape in its plural form means "love feast". It means an overwhelming
abundance of love or charity. Indeed the word Agape has come to represent God's own love and the love he shares with his
own; the highest form of love - ultimate love. It is no mistake the very word used to describe God's love has elements of
sexual and nutritional fulfillment blended with it. For the pleasures of food and sex are used throughout scripture as
analogies of God's ability to quench our deepest, most basic needs.

 In early Christian times Agape or love feast was associated with the breaking of bread or eucharist - which some now call
Communion or The Lord's Supper. In practice is was really their gathering together from far and wide, sometimes
practicing in secret due to persecution. Vincent in his New Testament Word Studies confirms the feastings are correctly
described as "sumptuous". Paul in I Corinthians 11: 20-22 warns that some of their sumptuous love feasts have become
selfish and excessive, including people eating wildly without waiting for others and uncontrolled drunkeness. Yet he
clearly does not condemn the eating, drinking, and loving - only the excess. In other places believvers are warned against
excess in love feasts so that they they merely mimic the local Bacchanalia and wild worship of false gods. In fact some
foolish believers tried to form a synthesis of Christianity with worship of local gods. The genuine Christian love feast is
the godly answer to the worldly love feast.

 The origin of the Love Feast or breaking of bread is the Jewish Passover. Sacrifice allowed for the atonement for sins and
a protection against evil. To the Christian the Passover is replaced by our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection. It is then
commemorated in the Love Feast or breaking of bread. We do know that the Passover originated in Egypt during the
captivity, a land very used to its own love feasts and ritual, sexual love of its gods We know from historical writings that
Passovers were often a time when families stayed together and refrained from work. Many babies were conceived during
this period of time. It was a time to restore unity among the faithful and family. Here God commanded his people to be
separate from the world, having their own worship of the one true God. Likewise we as Christians have our own
celebration of Christ, the one true God and are to be apart from the world.

 Food, drink, fellowship, and the body were created by God for his people. They are not the property of the world though
they seek to abuse and misuse them. It is our sacred right and duty as believers (Jews first then now as Christians) to
make proper use of these gift's of God. And it is to be done not in selfishness (worship to self) or worship of other gods.

 Some would say the Love Feast is a purely spiritual thing. Yet Paul speaks constantly about the blood and body of our
Lord, the physicality of his sacrifice and the feast. The wine or grape juice symbolizes his blood while the bread or wafer
his flesh. This ritual is done in remembrance of our Lord's very real blood and flesh! In the very next chapter he declares
they we are now the very body of Christ, each parts of it. Thus we go from remembering the sacrifice of Christ's blood and
flesh in his earthly life to his current body which is composed of the believers. Indeed his very resurrection is our
resurrection into life as part of his body. One cannot separate these concepts as Paul writes about them as one subject and
did not compose chapters as we see today.

 Thus in our modern Love Feast we celebrate our Lord's great sacrifice and also our oneness as part of his body. We are
all parts of one new perfect body, capable of no division, no conflicting mission. There is no shame, no impurity, and no
dishonor in the new body. As such we choose to celebrate our oneness in Christ in comprehensive, complete terms being
one in spirit, body, and mind. That includes our sexuality. In I Corinthians 12 Paul says:

 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and
our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body
together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but
that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer
with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.

 Here we have instructions how to behave both as individuals composed of parts and as a total body of believers as parts of
a larger body. I am troubled how many Christian today see only the original sin nature and think of themselves and
others as impure and worth less than trash. Yet they do not consider we are renewed and purified in Christ, our own
bodies and those of others now without shame or dishonor. Today we suffer with each other, closely, and we also rejoice
with each other. We rejoice in our sexuality together, our individual uniqueness, our similarities, and our working
together as one body - physical , spiritual, and mental. We celebrate our Lord and the love he gave us for each other and
him. Our Love Feast is righteous, it is joyful, and it is complete.

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 Beautiful words and beautiful thoughts, but very hard to fulfill in a world where people are growing colder and colder....
but thanks for the idealism and scripture interpretation .... Open Love Christian Community

 All the Best in
Jesus

 David
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