Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Holy Qurbana – Commemoration & Experience of the Salvic Event
Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 10:16 - The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
The Early Church, the Lord’s Table was centered around the Breaking of Bread during the fellowship gatherings at the homes of believers with glad and sincere hearts (Acts 2:42-46), reminiscing the joyful post-resurrection meals of the Risen Lord with His disciples (Luke 24:30; 41-44; John 21:1-14; Acts 1:4, 10:41). Subsequently, Apostle Paul emphasized the significance and importance of the death of Christ and the Last Supper—detailed in the Gospels (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:7-22; John 13:21-30)—in relation to the Lord’s Table (1 Corinthians 11:17-34).
Apostle Paul founded the Church in Corinth—the most important Greek city at the time—during his second missionary journey ~AD 50, ministering to both Jews and Gentiles for about a year and a half (Acts 18:1-17). Paul wrote the First letter to Corinthians from Ephesus during his third missionary journey ~AD 55, addressing issues in the Church like immorality, marriage and celibacy, conduct of women, propriety of eating meat offered to idols, and the celebration of the Lord’s Table. 1 Corinthians 10:14-22explores the theme of Idol feasts and the Lord’s Supper, with the relationship between idolatrous feasts and demons juxtaposed against the Lord’s Table and Christ, and includes a stern warning against the sins of the culture.
The Marthoma Church, like many other Kerala Christian Churches, uses the St. James Liturgy—among the oldest liturgies in continuous use, by James, Jesus’s brother and Bishop of the Jerusalem Church—for the Holy Qurbana (Holy Offering/Holy Sacrifice) worship service (https://marthoma.in/faith-sacraments/liturgy/). The commemoration and remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—i.e., the Gospel, the good news of reconciliation between Holy God and sinful humanity through grace alone, faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9)—signifying the great Salvic act of substitutionary atonement, remains the central theme of the Holy Qurbana celebration through the St. James liturgy.
In his pathbreaking Master of Theology dissertation in the 1960s, the late George Poikail (1933-2008), a North American Marthoma Diaspora pioneer, has undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the genesis and evolution of the Eucharistic liturgy of St. Thomas Christians, concluding that liturgy has the potential to unite the Indian Church for proclaiming the Gospel to unreached people groups.
May the Lord’s Table be an enriching and transforming experience.
Thought for the Day
: For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:26)
Dr. Cherian Samuel
Immanuel Mar Thoma Church, Virginia.