"Christianity is Wine".Islam is coffee, Buddhism is tea, Christianity is wine." That old saying reflects a certain truth about these three world religions, their cultural roots and symbolism. It shows each tradition featuring a ritual of fellowship, gathering around a special ceremony of hospitality and the celebration of life.
Coffee comes from the "middle world" of Islam, from the tents of Arabian hospitality, the breath of a community originally nomadic See nomadic computing. -- remember the great tents in Lawrence of Arabia Lawrence of Arabia: see Lawrence, T. E.
Lawrence of Arabia
T. E. Lawrence (1888–1935), legendary hero, led Arab revolt against Turkey. [Br. Hist.: Benét, 572]
See : Adventurousness ? (It is also useful as a stimulant to keep one awake for night-time prayers.)
The tea ceremony in Eastern Buddhism is strongest in Japan where it becomes a veritable "way of tea" (chado) involving 24 instruments used with great formality. The Tearoom is sacred space sacred space,
n space—tangible or otherwise—that enables those who acknowledge and accept it to feel reverence and connection with the spiritual. , symbolizing the harmony of Heaven with the elements of Earth. It is thus a master art and a way of liberation.
Wine holds special place in Christianity because of its Jewish roots, where bread stands for food and wine for gladness. One of John Calvin's favourite verses was Psalm 104:14b-15a: "You ... bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden glad·den
v. glad·dened, glad·den·ing, glad·dens
To make glad. See Synonyms at please.
To be glad.
Verb 1. the human heart." He should know -- his stipend in Geneva Geneva, canton and city, Switzerland
Geneva (jənē`və), Fr. Genève, canton (1990 pop. 373,019), 109 sq mi (282 sq km), SW Switzerland, surrounding the southwest tip of the Lake of Geneva. was some cash plus a substantial amount of wine. Curiously, when Presbyterians began to worship in Montreal over 200 years ago, they used the church of St. Gabriel and made a donation of wine to the Roman Catholic priests This is an annotated list of men primarily known for their work as Catholic priests. Catholic priests who are mostly known for their non-priestly work should be placed on other lists. in gratitude. Calvin wrote: "It is permissible to use wine, not only for necessity, but also to make us merry." God intends to "delight us with his delicacies," making us merry so that we may "feel a livelier gratitude to God." Of course, he enjoins moderation in such lawful use.
The Lord's Supper holds central place in Christian liturgy Noun 1. Christian liturgy - the Christian worship services
liturgy - a rite or body of rites prescribed for public worship
doxology - a hymn or verse in Christian liturgy glorifying God , along with preaching. The Word of God becomes audible in sermon and visible in sacraments. Together, Word and Sacrament convey the proclamation of God's grace and the human response it calls forth: grace begets gratitude. In Greek, "grace" is charis and "thanksgiving" is eucharistia (in Greece, today, one hears efaristo regularly; that is, "thanks"). So our weekly praise and thanksgiving form the "eucharistic sacrifice" due to God for his covenant love.
The original word for sacrament was "mystery," the Greek term still preferred in Eastern Orthodoxy Eastern Orthodoxy
officially Orthodox Catholic Church
One of the three major branches of Christianity. Its adherents live mostly in Greece, Russia, the Balkans, Ukraine, and the Middle East, with a large following in North America and Australia. . The ancient Father Origen wrote: "For the body of the Divine Logos or his blood, what else can they be than the word which nourishes and the word which gladdens the hearts?" He also calls Communion "the Word which saturates and inebriates the hearts of those that drink it." Others also noted the intoxicating in·tox·i·cate
v. in·tox·i·cat·ed, in·tox·i·cat·ing, in·tox·i·cates
1. To stupefy or excite by the action of a chemical substance such as alcohol.
2. power of the wine. That's why theologian Paul Tillich Noun 1. Paul Tillich - United States theologian (born in Germany) (1886-1965)
Paul Johannes Tillich, Tillich , when asked why unfermented Adj. 1. unfermented - not soured or preserved; "sweet milk"
unsoured - not having turned bad grape juice shouldn't be used in the Lord's Supper, replied, "Because wine has power!"
The Lord's Supper or Eucharist is a communal meal, a shared feast. Certainly it's no picnic -- these token bits of bread and wine are not enough to satisfy the belly. And that's the point: it is meant to unsettle us, prepare us for an embattled journey, a disputed passage. "Iron Rations of a Christian," a German theologian once called these elements, recalling the frontline fare of the Great War. Christ's very body and blood on display as it were. Here is no place for sentiment, or watering down (!) this rich tradition of sacrificial memory and thanksgiving. Its deep meaning and high power strike us speechless, like Paul on the Damascus Road, or like Luther trembling as he lifted the chalice chalice [Lat.,=cup], ancient name for a drinking cup, retained for the eucharistic or communion cup. Its use commemorates the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper. in his first Communion as a priest. It's an invasion of our self-centred lives, our acquisitive society, our hypocritical spirituality.
Communion -- "common union" -- unites us with Christ, the church's Head, and, therefore, inexorably and most assuredly with one another -- with every "other" for whom he died. Look around you at your next eucharistic service: those others are one flesh with you, whether you like it or not, whether you think them worthy of your friendship or not. Do you "discern the Lord's body" in them? Be careful! As you judge these others, these little ones for whom Christ sacrificed himself in charis, so will you be judged as to the sincerity of your eucharistia. No wonder our Scottish forebears handed out their Communion tokens sparingly according to one's manner of life (which the elders must guarantee). On the tokens was stamped those dreaded words, "Examine yourself, lest you eat and drink judgment" or "Discern the Lord's body!" (I Corinthians 11:27-29).
Thanksgiving: the theme of Christian life, a sacrifice of perpetual praise. We lay claim to this heritage of life-affirming celebration, purchased at cost, for which red wine has proved the best symbol. The chalice that once formed the legend of the Holy Grail of chivalrous chiv·al·rous
1. Having the qualities of gallantry and honor attributed to an ideal knight.
2. Of or relating to chivalry.
3. Characterized by consideration and courtesy, especially toward women. quest is now ours for the taking. We are like knights of a round table, all equal in dignity and worth here. So do we echo the Jewish toast L'Chaim! -- To life!
Joseph C. McLelland is emeritus professor of McGill University and The Presbyterian College, Montreal, and a contributing editor of this magazine.