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  • Sarah Ford Elliott
    The Day of Jupiter Gospel Events: The Last Supper, Gethsemane and the Arrest of Jesus. I think I am right in remembering that Emil Bock was one of the first
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 14, 2006
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      The Day of Jupiter
      Gospel Events: The Last Supper, Gethsemane and the Arrest of Jesus.
      I think I am right in remembering that Emil Bock was one of the first Christian Community priests. He has an interest, therefore, in comparing the structure of the Last Supper to the service of The Consecration of Man – the renewed Communion service or Mass. Rudolf Steiner worked with these people who were interested in renewing the sacraments of the church, but actually did not think that a person following the inner path of Anthroposophy should rely on ritual or sacraments. It was his practice, however, to help people when they asked for help.
      It is true to see that in these accounts elements of the various religious streams coming out of the past flow into this last supper (as the streams of Buddha and Zarathustra come together in the births of Jesus).
      The washing of the feet was an Essene practice. The Passover lamb from the Jewish stream reminds us of the power of the blood of the lamb in warding of the Angel of Death. This is reminiscent of the ancient practice of blood sacrifice. Finally, on the hill of Zion, where Melchizadek once presided over the sanctuary of the Sun god, Christ re-enacts the ancient sacrament of the sharing of bread and wine. All of these are fulfilled and renewed in Christ.
      The streams of the past are recognisable in this meal, but the whole emphasis is really on the future. Christ is in full knowledge of what needs to happen over the next few days and he is aware of the effect that this will have on his followers – those who will be instrumental in forming the new earthly community. It is tempting to see this meal as a template for a new sacrament, but for me it goes further than that.
      The first thing that Christ does is to act as a servant to his disciples. Peter objects to this, but Christ’s reply leaves us in no doubt that this is an act of great significance; a significance which goes beyond a lesson in humility (which it also is). He says that it is only necessary to wash the feet because the rest of the body is clean.
      Shining out of these passages for me is Christ’s concern to prepare and form a new community: a community in which each individual contains the divine spark of Ego consciousness. In the past a King would be prepared by the mysteries to be the one person in the community who could guide his people by drawing on divine wisdom. Now each individual has that capacity.
      The head and the body are clean – are worthy to unite with the divine image of perfected humanity. However, because we work in the world, our feet which come into contact with the earth, are “dirty” (or at least travel stained!). The human being lives both in the spiritual and the physical world.
      In the new community each individual will walk his own path. It is not for another member of the community to say where that path should lead, or where it should start from, that is between the individual and his / her karma. If we are to work together in a loving community we can and should only trust that another’s path is right for them. The only obligation that we owe to each other is that we do persevere in moving along the path. However, what we should do for each other is wash each other’s feet in an attitude of reverence and humility.
      When we have walked the path a ways, inevitably unhelpful earthly matter will cling to our feet. The challenge is to be able to help the other person to be free of what is not helpful without appearing to be critical.
      Lievegoed in the chapter “Outline of the anthroposophical path of inner training” in “Man on the Threshold” describes this sort of community better than I ever could:

      “The human being does not have to attempt this path alone. It can also take its course in a group of people who are connected in their life of will through working together, which at the same time signifies a shared destiny. I once called such a community a ‘responsibility community’. Each alone takes his own path of development in such a community, but in this he depends heavily on the others. All consider it their path of development to be awake to what the other could and should do. This can be expressed in words or by creating situations in which the other can become creative, and this applies mutually. An archetype of such a community is the Pentecostal community of the disciples, or the community of the Round Table of King Arthur.

                  Attention is directed not at oneself, but at the other. One helps the other, carries the other, and stands behind the other when he is carrying out his task inside or outside the group… it demands the greatest degree of alertness to the needs of the world, and a deep commitment to giving answers to the questions of others. Every insight, every skill of the individual is available to the entire community.”
      There is more but I suggest you buy the book and read it… of all the invaluable books that I have (and I have a few) this has been one of the most invaluable to me.
      In reading these Easter accounts it is very hard to avoid your thoughts falling into the accepted pattern “enculturated” into you during childhood. I was perhaps fortunate in growing up in the not particularly dogmatic Church of England. But I can still feel the accepted thought patterns sitting there like an old comfortable pair of slippers… but the soles have holes in and the toes pinch.
      Mind you, even as a child, I would often attend 3 or 4 different churches – even in a day! I have taken communion in many different circumstances. I am reminded of the great debates that raged during the Reformation over Transubstantiation, Consubstantiation et. al. Theories range from some kind of magic trick that is effected over the bread and wine during the magic ritual of the Mass, to a mere (almost empty) symbol. In the Roman Catholic church the blood of Christ is considered to be so sacred that the laity are not even permitted to receive it! Where did it all go wrong?
      The idea of the “sacrament” has become so tied up with our perceptions of the physical world. How refreshing the thought that when Christ said “This is my body… this is my blood,” he was simply stating the truth! What was going to happen over the next few days resulted in the earth actually becoming the physical body of The Christ. Thus any food is Christ’s body and liquid is his blood. It is not something that you keep in a cupboard (or Aumbry as it’s called!) as a sacred article only to be partaken of on Sundays by a selected few. Mind you neither is Christianity. That’s my opinion anyway… of course the others are on their own path…
      It is possible with sufficient observation (that is in effect love) to reveal the Christ in every particle of earthly matter, in every moment of every day. If a ritual can serve to remind people of this sublime fact, then so much the good. If it actually works to subvert from this revelation of Christ in us, something has gone wrong.
      The final part of the meal is Christ’s instruction to his disciples. Again his concern seems to be with preparing them for what is about to happen and instructing them in how to form a new community. In doing so he repeatedly gives them a new commandment:
                  “A new commandment I give unto you: that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
                  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
      The first Christian gatherings were called “love feasts”. (I can’t remember where I learnt this.) But the Greek language is blessed with three words for love: eros, philos and agape. In this case love refers to agape – the love that consumes.
      There is a wonderful description of the activity of agape in Paulo Coehlo’s “The Pilgrimage” (The Blue Sphere Exercise).
      In “The Biology of Transcendence” Chilton Pearse explains how two heart cell from different hearts placed relatively close together on a Petri dish will begin to beat in harmony and resonate. Cardio-Neurology is a relatively new scientific field which seeks to prove that the heart is a thinking organ. An organ of harmonising, synthesising intelligence, rather than analytical, reflective intellect which is the activity of the brain. This book contains a full and lengthy description of this neglected human capacity.
      In an atmosphere free from fear and doubt how great is the potential for the heart opened in Agape. When the power of several resonating hearts is combined, how much greater the potential.
      “When two or three are gathered together in my name…”
      Eightfold Path:
      “Thursday: Human Endeavour. One should take care to do nothing that lies beyond one’s powers – but also leave nothing undone which lies within them.
      To look beyond the everyday, the momentary, and to set oneself aims and ideals connected with the highest duties of a human being. For instance, in the sense of the prescribed exercises, try to develop oneself so that afterwards one may be able all the more to help and advise one’s fellow men – though perhaps not in the immediate future.
      This can be summed up as:
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