Sunday, August 27, 2006


One thing I've reflected on the past is the use of the term "relationship" with regards to how we relate to God.

Don't get me wrong, I am not denying our relationship with God with what I am about to say, only that what we have with Him goes far beyond the idea of relationship. It includes it, but goes beyond it. Let me explain.

I am going to look at this as a hierarchy, one in which the higher involve the lower.

The lowest in the hierarchy is the idea of a simple relationship. It is a truth that we do have a relationship, but it's not the be all and all, it does not connote the reality that we live. To have a relationship with Christ only expresses love in the way of philia, in the familial type of love. We see Christ simply as a member of the family and thus have a natural affection of love towards Him. This is indeed the case, but it is not the fullness.

The next is an intimate relationship with Christ. This goes up a notch. Not only does this include everything from pure relationship, but it adds the idea of yearning. We experience Christ intimately and thus move closer towards Him and yearn for Him. This is the relationship of eros, of yearning and wanting. We see that Christ can give us truth, beauty, and happiness, and we want to accept that and ask it of Him. For the first time, we seek Christ out as the woman seesk out her love in the Song of Songs. We know that we have experienced true love, and we want more of it. But this also is not the fulfillment.

I would like to argue that we have an intimate communion with God. It involves the first two things which I already mentioned, but it is no longer a seeking, but a willing to give our entire seslves over to Christ and to conform ourselves to His will. We are no longer self-seeking, but are seeking that which pleases our beloved. Communion entails agape love, that is, love that is totally self-giving. In other words, an intimate communion with Christ is an involvement in the Trinitarian exchange of love. By giving our selves completely to Christ, we thus image the exchange of self-giving love that is a reality in the Blessed Trinity. And what is the Trinity? It is a communion of love, the most intimate. There is relationship there, and there is seeking, but it is realized fully in the self-giving of self. Eros and philia realize their true nature in the self-giving love of the Trinity.

And thus, by our giving of self to Christ, we experience that Trinitarian exchange of love in its fullness. It is something that is worked at throughout our lives as we grow closer to Christ. But Christ already gives us that foretaste through the Eucharist.

When Christ says in John 6 that "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you" He means it! By receiving the Eucharist, we receive that spiritual food that gives us the strength to love Christ as He loves us. What is our life? To grow in Holiness by imitating Christ? How do we imitate Christ? By being a sign of love to the world. Thus, by receiving the Eucharist, we receive the love of Christ which is the heart of our life. Without Christ's love, communicated to us through the Eucharist, indeed, we have no life, because we do not find the fulfillment of the desires of our heart in things of the world, but only in the love of Christ. But we only experience the love of Christ through the reception of Him in our lives. We receive Him in Baptism when we enter the Church, but we receive Him intimately in the Eucharist. Christ gives Hiimself to us, who are we to refuse His gift?

*sidenote* I realize that I had a post on personal and intimate relationship of Chirst, but when one prays and ponders thelogical things, one can move further on and beyond.



Anonymous said...


I could probably argue the necesity of communion and baptism for salvation with you until the cows come home. I feel you have taken John 6:53 out of context. The entire section of scripture before it uses bread and wine symbolicly to link it to the manna and water that God miraculously gave to save the physical lives of the Israelites. Jesus gave his body and blood to save our souls. Communion was given as a way to remember the sacrifice of Christ on the cross...and when he says to eat of the flesh and drink of the wine here (this is before the last supper) he is asking us to accept the gift of that sacrfice just as the Israelites accepted the food and drink from heaven. While I participate in communion and was baptised, I don't believe scripturally that either is necessary for salvation, but both are good things to do in obediance to Christ.

All that aside, I think the arguement you are making is one of symantics. The word relationship has many meanings and I do believe we were designed to have relationship with both God and each other in the same way the trinity has relationship within itself. We were designed for that type of relationship because we are image bearers of God that is why it was not good for man to be alone. God designed us to experience the same type of relationship that the Father, Son, and Spirit experience.


Siloah Swimmer said...

First off, I think that Bethany utterly misunderstood what you were trying to say; but you weren't very clear.

I would only say that the word "relationship" is preferred to the word "communion" because "relationship" has a broader meaning. When I speak about my relationship with Christ, I can speak about all the different ways that we love one-another; the ways that we converse; and the ways that we interact. When I speak about my communion with Christ, I am speaking about a more specific exchange of being.

For example, if I speak about my relationship with the Church, I am speaking about how I actually relate to and with her: what teachings I accept (in my case, all of them :-)); how I worship in the context of the Church; what I think about the people who make up the body of the Church; etc. When I speak about my communion with the Church, though, I am speaking specifically about my membership as part of that body of the Church; i.e. how I am at one with her.

Anyway, that's how I understand the words.