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In this connection of the Eucharist

By Malihah · Jun 11, 2020 ·
  1. In this connection of the Eucharist with the Lord’s Day, so well supported by evidence from the liturgical tradition of the early Church, we have therefore a confirmation of that eschatological theology of time of which we have been speaking. The eschatology of the new Christian cult does not mean the renunciation of time. There would have been no need for a fixed day (statu die) in a ‘wholly world-renouncing’ cult, it could be celebrated on any day and at any hour. Nor does this eschatology become related to time through the sanctification of one of the days of the week, like the sabbath in the Old Testament law. The ‘Lord’s Day’ actualized in the Eucharist was not ‘one of the ordinary sequence of days.’ just as the Church herself while existing in ‘this world’ manifests a life which is ‘not of this world,’ so also the ‘Lord’s Day,’ while it is actualized within time on a given day, manifests within this sequence that which is above time and belongs to another aeon. Just as the Church though ‘not of this world’ is present in this world for its salvation, so also the Sacrament of the Lord’s Day, the Sacrament of the new aeon is joined with time in order that time itself might become the time of the Church, the time of salvation. It is precisely this fulfilment of time by the ‘Eschaton,’ by that which overcomes time and is above it and bears witness to its finitude and limitedness, which constitutes the sanctification of time.

    But if the connection of the Eucharist with a ‘fixed day’ and the nature of this day as the ‘Lord’s Day’ point to a definite theology of time, and if they confirm our first hypothesis concerning the early Christian rule of prayer, they do not yet prove the existence in the early Church of what we have defined as the liturgy of time, i.e. of a form of worship distinct from the Sunday Eucharistic assembly and immediately connected with the natural cycles of time. We have already said that the opinions of historians differ as to the origin of this form of worship, which will occupy such a large place in the liturgical. life of the Church in the following epoch. We have also expressed our conviction that to the extent that the ‘liturgical dualism’ of Judeo-Christianity represented something essential and basic in the Church’s faith, it had to be preserved in one form or another after Christianity’s final break with Judaism. Are we now able to point out the facts which support this hypothesis?

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