Radically incompatible Institution Narratives (DID. 9.2-4)

9.2 “First, concerning the cup: We give thanks to you, our Father, For the holy vine of David your servant which you have revealed to us through Jesus your  servant. To you be glory for ever.

9.3 And concerning the fragment: We give thanks to you, our Father, For the life and knowledge, which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever. 9.4 As this fragment lay scattered upon the mountains and has been gathered to become one, so gather your Church from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. For the glory and power are yours, through Jesus Christ, forever.”


C O M M E N T :


In the four Gospels we have nothing comparable to this Eucharistic prayer in the DIDACHE.  The disparity strikes me as remarkable! It spurs prayerful reflection. 

The sense which comes to mind just now is that perhaps the DIDACHE was an early authentic founding concept of the Church and Eucharist  but, over time it was for some reason reduced in valuation (one can only speculate why); then it was supplanted in the liturgy, with the so-famous ‘hoc est corpus…’  The reasons for this supplanting, and possible implications, are questions deserving of attention and prayer.  Scholars have devoted much study to this question.  (If the Lord will, I will post some highlights of my readings on this, which are rather candid.) 

As a quick statement for now, of what I sense on this from the Spirit’s leading: 

The ‘holy vine of David your servant’ can perhaps be read in several ways. (Here is a pertinent Concordance: ‘David your Servant,’ ‘Servant David’.)

The most evocative way to me is this. The ‘holy vine’ poetically means ‘fruition,’ i.e. realization and fulfillment of what was promised and latent. The apostolic authors of the prayer regard the vine of David as a prophetic portent which has now been revealed through Jesus. This vine is the living spiritual Kingship of the God of Israel over the whole Church united in Christ. Drinking of it has become the life-giving sustenance of the community (Church) of those who are baptized into the fellowship.  Drinking wine gives joy, pleasure and happiness and, if the hearts are in good conscience, perfect unity. 

Of course the vine imagery  which begins with this DIDACHE prayer  ultimately evokes a “proven and perfected” restatement, and still deeper understanding in the sublime revelation in the Gospel of John(15:1-8):

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I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.  (2)  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away. And every one that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bring forth more fruit.  (3)  Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken to you.  (4)  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  (5)  I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  (6)  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered. And they gather and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  (7)  If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.  (8)  In this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you shall be My disciples.



On a personal note, I have had two wonderful dream visions relating to the Eucharist; these are reported in my book Divine Dreams (1994 I think) and at my website Visions and NDE experiences of God and Christ  (Incidentally, this old website, though still quite accessible also via Christcome.net,  is being slowly converted into a more current-Php style CMS and also a third format, a blog, ; the latter is http://proofofchrist.wordpress.com but is so far empty until the Lord provides me the time for it.)

Navigate to the ‘Heavenly ambrosia’ dream vision and also to the ‘Serving at the Banquet’ dream vision.


Addendum: Spectacular unity of the DIDACHE Eucharist, with the Feeding of the Multitude (DID. 9.3)

As a corollary to the holy vine of David, per the DIDACHE uniquely, what we have most emphatically in common between the DIDACHE and the Four Gospels, is the Feeding of the Multitude, to which of course this prayer alludes. 

Of note:

The Feeding is recounted in all four canonical Gospels.  And in all four it is truly a pivotal event. And this Feeding is the only miracle of the Lord which is recounted in all four Gospels; and this Feeding appears to be the obvious allusion that the DIDACHE prayer is making.

A key link-word is “fragments” (Greek: KLASMA). The only New Testament texts using this word are these four, in which the KLASMA refers to the “leftover” fragments of the Feeding. Jesus then refers to these fragments in an exposition (Mat 16.9-10) to signify deeper meaning.


The Feeding, I believe, Represents the more Authentic Original Gospel than does the Institution Narrative…

The sense of the Eucharist which the Spirit instructs to me, is that the miraculous Feeding is God’s ultimate purpose both in the material sense of a world in which all the poor are fed, and in the miraculous sense in which each Initiate in the Way, leans of God’s miraculous providence as a living reality.  It is this Feeding that is the true Salvation of the world.  Again, it occurs on several levels, including literal food and beverage, as well as spiritual food and drink from Christ’s body, and intellectual awakening   food for the soul and heart and mind.


The ‘hoc es corpus’ as an inauthentic recrudescence of priestcraft ?

Thought it grieves and troubles me to speculate, my spirit notes a perhaps contrasting Eucharistic innovation which supplanted the authentic original found here in the DIDACHE.  (There is considerable scholarship on this question which, time and the Lord permitting it, will be posted here.)  In contradistinction to the Feeding of the Poor and the Multitude of seekers, one now receives a different Eucharist    one which emphasizes the sacrificial death as atonement, not miraculous provision.   This suggests to an erroneous departure and substitution, although it is far from me to judge history or render an authoritative answer on the matter.  The disturbing element is the theology in which the priests become a necessity for a cleansing rite.  If this is what occurred, then it arguably supplants Christ’s once-and-for-all cleansing, which was intended as the initiation of a new order of a spiritual commonwealth.  But, with the corrupting effect of time, ‘the sheep turned to wolves,’ and love turned to hate, and the communion feast became a tool of division, conflict, excommunication, extortion and whatnot. 

Thus you find the theme expounded here, questioning the post-Nicene post-Constantine departure into an institutionalized, bureaucratized imperial church.


Contrast of the DIDACHE Eucharist with the canonical Institution Narrative

Now we have the institution narratives of Mat, Mark, Luke and 1Cor. The phrasing used here refers to a bread and wine symbolizing Christ’s body and blood in Atoning sacrifice.  This, I believe, is not self-evidently the same sense that we were introduced to with the ‘vine of David’ imagery. As I noted, this vine refers to a unity of spirits submitting to the Kingship of God (which Kingship engages believer through the catechistic Torah of the DIDACHE).

However, the element in common between both disparate texts, is the idea of a covenant (of the canonical institution narratives) that is established and which creates the community (that is living together as the Multitude of KLASMA, in the DIDACHE).

Here in these parallel texts we see how completely harmonized the covenant institution language has become in the New Testament.

MATTHEW: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is My body. And He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink all of it. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom. (Mat 26:26-29)

MARK: And as they ate, Jesus took a loaf and blessed and broke it, and He gave to them and said, Take, eat; this is My body. And taking the cup, giving thanks, He gave to them. And they all drank out of it. And He said to them, This is My blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I say to you, I will no more drink of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. (Mar 14:22-25)

LUKE: And when the hour came, He and the twelve apostles with Him reclined. And He said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer. For I say to you, I will not any more eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And He took the cup and gave thanks and said, Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall come. And He took bread and gave thanks, and He broke it and gave it to them, saying, This is My body which is given for you, this do in remembrance of Me. In the same way He took the cup, after having dined, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is being poured out for you. (Luk 22:14-20)

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; And giving thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also, after supping, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood; as often as you drink it, do this in remembrance of Me.” For “as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you show” the Lord’s death until He shall come. (1Co 11:23-26)


Addendum: Also compare other ‘passion Cup’ elements:

And they shall deliver Him to the nations to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He shall rise again. Then the mother of Zebedee’s children came to Him with her sons, worshiping and desiring a certain thing from Him. And He said to her, What do you desire? She said to Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit in Your kingdom, the one on Your right hand and the other on the left. But Jesus answered and said, You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They said to Him, We are able. And He said to them, You shall indeed drink of My cup and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but to those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.   (Mat 20:19-23) 

And He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will. (Mat 26:39)He went away again the second time and prayed, saying, My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done. And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same word. (Mat 26:42-44)

And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible to You. Take away this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.
(Mar 14:36)

And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw. And He kneeled down and prayed, saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.
(Luk 22:41-42)

Then Jesus said to Peter, Put up your sword into the sheath. The cup which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?
(Joh 18:11)


1 Comment

Filed under Chapter 09, DIDACHE Eucharist, Intertextuality: Pro-DIDACHE

One response to “Radically incompatible Institution Narratives (DID. 9.2-4)

  1. Pingback: The ‘Fragment Scattered upon the Mountains, Gathered into One.’ (DID. 9.4) « The DIDACHE-Gospel

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