Hi Friends —
Think for a moment for what the Last Supper might have been like for Jesus. He was out of time. He was about to be betrayed and arrested. It was is last opportunity to convey to his disciples what he was all about. It just may be that a spiritual insight came to him as he was breaking off a portion of bread. If so, he expressed it in such a profound way that the six words he spoke have come to be the heart of every liturgical celebration for over two millenia:
Take, eat, this is my body.
To get a deeper understanding of these words, I assembled Unity Bible annotations for the four passages where these six words of institution of the Last Supper are found. Here are the passages:
One of the annotations, published in January 1925, revealed something I have never before read about the Last Supper. This special annotation was referenced in the Metaphysical Bible Interpretations for Luke 22. It makes four points:
The physical elements of the Lord’s Supper, bread and wine, symbolize substance and life. But there is back of the physical elements an essence of wine and bread which is spiritual life and spiritual substance.
Spiritual life and spiritual substance can only be appropriated when it is spiritually discerned by the recipient.
Jesus, himself, could take no part in eating the material bread and wine, because, as outer symbols, they were inadequate to the spiritual appropriation of life and substance for someone in his spiritual consciousness.
The disciples had not yet been raised to spiritual consciousness; therefore, they needed the outer representation to lead men to the inner realization of the substance and life which the bread and the wine symbolize: “This do in remembrance of me.” As their faculty of spiritual discernment was raised (in their twelve powers) so was their (and our) capacity to appropriate spiritual life and spiritual substance.
This is a radical teaching. If it’s valid then all the theological debates about what happens when bread and wine are consecrated—transubstantiation, consubstantiation, commemoration—all of it, goes out the window. Nothing happens when the bread and wine is consecrated.
What matters is what happens when it is appropriated. If our consciousness is right then a Spiritual Communion takes place. If our consciousness is low then we get bread and wine.
What changes things depends on you and I—the spiritual discernment of the recipient—not the spiritual discernment of the celebrant. It is you and I—our power of Understanding—that allows spiritual substance and spiritual life to be appropriated by the soul and thereby expressed to the body, bringing life and substance.
Furthermore, the ordination of celebrant and the authority of the church that the celebrant represents is irrelevant. This opens up a whole new perspective on the nature of the body of Christ. Is it about ordinations and clergy? Or is is about receiving—appropriation—of Jesus Christ?
In other words there is a direct linkage between the words of Jesus:
Take, eat, this is my body
and Charles Fillmore’s teaching on regeneration of the body. That linkage runs through the state of our twelve powers.
I will be in church this evening. Regardless of the denomination and regardless of the authority of the celebrant, my mind will be focused on spiritual discernment of the presence of Jesus Christ. And when I hear the words “take, eat, this is my body” I will call to mind the words of Paul that were the favorite of Charles Fillmore:
Christ in you, the hope of glory.
As Charles Fillmore writes in this article, “Appropriation of the bread and wine comes through affirmation of spiritual substance and spiritual life ... God invites us all to this spiritual banquet, and the Father himself will be our companion in the joys of the divine communion. ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’”
Maundy Thursday, April 18, 2019
Lesson 3, January 18, 1925.
Unity Subject—APPROPRIATION OF DIVINE LIFE AND SUBSTANCE.
International Subject—THE LORD’S SUPPER.—Luke 22:14-23.
GOLDEN Text—This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.—Luke 22:19.
SlLENT Prayer—I daily appropriate the life and substance of Spirit.
Jesus Christ taught in parables and by illustrative symbols because his hearers were unable to grasp spiritual principles presented in an abstract way. In this lesson, which teaches the deepest truth of the Gospel, Jesus presents the bread and the wine as symbols of our spiritually partaking of the life and substance which he externalized and raised to spiritual consciousness.
Partaking of food and drink symbolizes appropriation of substance and life. Bread represents the flesh of Christ; it is an outer form of the inner substance. In esoteric teaching, the vine is one of the symbols of the life principle; wine is the expressed life of the vine—symbolically, the very blood of life. The body of Jesus Christ is spiritual flesh, substance fashioned into beauty and permanency by the word of God. The blood of Jesus Christ is the quickening element in creation; it perpetuates to eternal expression all who are able to drink of it.
God is omnipresent; therefore all the elements of his being are omnipresent. The God elements invisible are the substance of man’s invisible body; they also feed and sustain the visible body of man in their formed state. Substance takes form according to man’s faith in it, intelligently responding to the word of man. Its intelligence constitutes its livingness. “I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” The one who eats living bread eats life, assimilates life, embodies — life. “My blood is drink indeed.” Whoever drinks the blood of the life vine ceases to thirst. His cravings are satisfied in righteousness. The blood of Jesus Christ is shed for the remission of the world’s sins. It takes away thirst for sin, and the world becomes saved through the absence of desire for sin.
Paul calls attention to the rightful keeping of the Lord’s Supper. He shows that to eat and drink worthily is to “proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.” The words quoted mean literally that when we mentally eat the body of Christ Jesus and drink his blood we translate the invisible elements of God into the Lord’s body, bringing it from the invisible to the visible side of life.
God invites us all to this spiritual banquet, and the Father himself will be our companion in the joys of the divine communion. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Appropriation of the bread and wine comes through affirmation of spiritual substance and spiritual life.
Among our faculties, represented by the disciples of Jesus Christ, we have a Judas. In its highest office this faculty is Judah, spiritual appropriation through prayer and praise; introverted in human consciousness, it is Judas-—acquisitiveness. In essence it is good, but in its personal sense and exercise it brings about suffering and crucifixion.
We cannot do without this faculty, and so we must lift it to spiritual expression by letting go of the idea that we can personally possess even the life and substance of our organisms. Life and substance are of the universal, and must be given up for the “remission of sins.” When this place of absolute renunciation of all is attained, there rushes into consciousness a new relation; the fruit of the vine of infinite life is drunk anew in every faculty, in “the kingdom of God.”
- Why did Jesus teach in parables?
- What is the true meaning of the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper?
- How is the Christ body formed ?
- How is substance formed in the body of man?
- How are the life and substance of Spirit appropriated?
- Explain about Judas, and how this faculty can be lifted to spiritual expression.