In all Christian churches the sacrament has been regarded as that which had taken the place of the passover,—a feast which was first partaken of when the Israelites were yet in bondage, but on the eve of their deliverance. And so it came about that the passover, which on that first occasion was eaten in haste, with "loins girded," shoes on feet, and staff in hand, became with the lapse of time an event of great joy and thanksgiving; and rightly so, for what had not God wrought for those who trusted Him at that earlier day! With the advance of spiritual understanding, the symbols which had served their time—the unleavened bread and the slain lamb—gave place to the bread and wine of the Christian Church,—symbols intended to typify the bread "which giveth life unto the world" and the wine which is the "inspiration of Love" (Science and Health, p. 35). To what extent these symbols have served their purpose in the Christian Church is largely a question of individual experience. In the days of the apostles there were many who failed to discern their spiritual significance, so Paul tells us in his first epistle to the Corinthians (11th chapter), and he adds, "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you." The same may be said of professing Christians all through the centuries,—they have made much of the symbol but have not grasped its meaning, have missed "the bread which cometh down from heaven" and so have been "weak and sickly," sinful and sorrowful.

Now it happens that Christian Scientists are often asked why material symbols have no place at their Communion? To this it may be answered that the bread and wine have given place to what St. Paul refers to as the discernment of "the Lord's body," otherwise, the embodiment of Truth's immortal idea. With this discernment the symbol is no longer needed, and is given up, even as the giving up of the paschal symbols marked an advance in spiritual understanding. The all-important thing is that we reach out for that "bread which giveth life," as Christ Jesus has said. There are many professed Christians who are literally starving for this bread, and who are mentally and physically "weak and sickly," as in Paul's time, because of its lack. They do not know how the life-giving bread is to be found, and yet our Master declared, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

June 15, 1907

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