Bread, Wine, and Nuka-Cola – September 10, 2022 (268-270/365)

I enjoy gaming. A lot. It’s been with me ever since I saw how you could control a computer-rendered, pixelated Italian plumber to move over enemies and under obstacles, from left to right, to save his royal girlfriend. I’ve played on the Nintendo Console, then moved up to strategy games on the PC, and eventually I was introduced to roleplay, by way of getting into the Fallout Universe. I played Fallout 2, then backtracked to finish Fallout 1. It wouldn’t be for a good number of years before Fallout 3 came out, and when it did, it was a totally different experience compared to how I knew Fallout – From the isometric form of the first 2 games, it became a first-person shooter. A huge change, for sure, and there was the potential to be disappointed – only I tolerated it, and eventually enjoyed it, only because I appreciated the Fallout Universe that much. So I got Fallout 3 as soon as I could, played it and finished it, then burned through all of its DLCs as soon as they came out as well.

Understand that as I was playing all these games I also went through school, then got my bachelor’s degree, and then eventually started my first job. I mention all this because I went to the extent of justifying buying a new PC just so that it could run Fallout 4 as soon as it got out. I loved Fallout 4. For some reason I was hooked into its gameplay (maybe something to mention or write about in a separate article). Sure, it wasn’t in the same format as its ancestors more than 10 years ago, but there was something to the open world and the opportunity to hold and maintain significant power in an imagined post-apocalyptic Boston that kept me playing, hours on end.

Imagine my excitement when Fallout 76 was announced. I went so far as to make sure my computer was hooked up with enough hardware to run the game, I signed up to Bethesda’s newsletter so I would hear as soon as it was released… and when it WAS released, well, needless to say, I was disappointed – Before I bought a license to the game I read up and watched pre-release reviews and it was pretty unanimous – or at least it was among all the people whose materials  I watched and read – that the game was a flop. And who could blame them? It was essentially just Fallout 4 in another setting, and online. They marketed the product as if there were going to be so many new things, and what WAS new was, quite frankly, disappointing.

It’s been more than 4 years since Fallout 76 was announced and released. Sure, a lot of fixes and updates have been made since then, but as one reviewer pointed out, they haven’t really been subtle throughout all this time to show how the entire game is more of a money grab than it is an actual game. I guess it was a good call to stick to Fallout 4 – on which, by the way, I am on my second playthrough, only this time I have the Modern Weapons mod, which makes scouring the Wasteland of baddies just that much more fun.

And see, that’s one thing right there – I join people in their frustration on how Fallout 4 was easily modified for other competent programmers to insert their own innovations and ideas into the lore, or to go as far as to introduce an entire new lore, versus Fallout 76, where it was just the developers who had that privilege, and still do, to this day. Maybe their hands are tied because the game was online – probably a valid reason, but even now, with significant time since its launch, I’m not going to be so hasty in trying out Fallout 76.

I remember joining my parents, my brothers in lining up to receive and eat small wafers of bread and a sip from a cup of what I would eventually discover was wine (brand of choice here where we’re at is Mompo). Eventually, I would learn from my folks and from school that this was called the Holy Communion, an essential part in any Anglican Mass. But to be honest, I only thought that this religious act was an indication that the entire Mass (which was around an hour and a half to two hours long, an eternity for most kids) was almost over. So when I saw hymns were being sung as people lined up to receive the bread and wine, I got excited – soon after that, we’d hightail it out of church and go out to lunch.

Eventually I got ‘smarter’ – or, actually, a bunch of us in the family got ‘smarter’. This was a time when my brothers were discovering religion beyond the Anglican church, by way of Evangelical Bible studies that made their way into the school. This was also the highest moments of the Jack Chick publications, and the anti-Catholic narrative made its way to my Mom, and eventually, to the rest of the family. We all got ‘smarter’, understanding that there were similarities to the way Communion was being done compared to other pagan religions… and there was a time that I bought into it, going as far as bashing the entire Catholic church, for the sake of ‘educating’ a certain girl I liked in college, in an attempt to win her over. You can tell how that went.

Time passed by and I eventually made my way to a Pentecostal Church, by way of a good friend of mine, who happened to be a son of their Senior Pastor. They used to observe Holy Communion even in their church, but as I recall they only observed it on the first Sunday of the month. Eventually, the leadership of the same church would agree to observe Communion in every service.

I’ve observed that the prevalent reason for them to observe Communion was to give the people the opportunity, through eating the bread, to ‘receive’ healing – after all, they would point out what was mentioned in Isaiah 53 – ‘By His stripes, we are healed’. People would testify that they immediately felt better, even of the most grievous of ailments, after ‘doing Communion’ in their own homes. And for some of the leadership this concept of healing was not only limited to the restoration of our physical bodies – We would also encourage and declare, as we ate of the bread, that we would receive healing in our minds, relationships, and, yes, our finances.

See how I’ve enjoyed the Fallout series throughout the years. I started by enjoying the basic graphics, and being eventually weaned into the new first-person format. The leap from Fallout 3 to 4 saw an improvement in graphics, a wider open world, and many more gameplay options and opportunities. So why was Fallout 76 so insulting to a significant number of enthusiasts of the lore? Well, it was exactly that – underneath the ‘improvement’ between Fallout 4 and 76, all they saw was a lateral movement, and not a vertical advance to the entire story. The people who recognized and appreciated how established and expansive the Fallout universe  was knew that Fallout 76 was extremely shallow, and therefore a blatant insult to the entire narrative.

See how I’ve understood Holy Communion throughout the years. I saw it as a sign that the entire service was going to end. Then I saw it as a ritual which blasphemed God because according to one author it had its ties with paganism and had nothing to do with Christianity. Finally, I eased up on utterly refusing to take it, and went with the prevalent sentiment of what the rest of the church I went to understood it as – a way for us to get God to heal us, or even to prosper us.

I’m pretty sure that the congregation I serve has noticed that I’ve observed Communion differently in our service. I haven’t really deviated THAT much if you’ve seen me do it – we still quote 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, after all. But what I say and share so far is whatever I have on my mind regarding Holy Communion, as influenced by the Gospel of Grace. To be honest, up until today, I haven’t really sat down to intentionally write about Communion explicitly. Today’s the day we fix that, not only for my sake, but for the sake of my team and my congregation.

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Let’s first point out that this was written by Paul – we know this because the passages are from his first epistle to the Corinthians. This means that it was written by someone who wasn’t actually there with Christ at the time we recall as the Last Supper… but, rather, Paul received this account from the Lord. You can say that this account that Paul shared was one that was to be emphasized to the Corinthians, who, by the way, were dishonoring the remembrance of the Last Supper.

I need to clarify something before going forward. I like how Andrew Farley points out the context here. Paul wrote what we now know as the first Epistle to the Corinthians with the intent of correcting them. They were boasting about who taught them, and about their lavish prayers and their speaking in tongues, as if to communicate to the rest of the church that they were that more ‘special’ – and this is why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:31, that if we were to boast of anything, we boast in the Lord (quoting Jeremiah 9:24). And that was just the tip of the iceberg. If you keep going through the rest of the epistle you’ll see that Paul was also rebuking them for suing each other in public courts, sexual misconduct… and abusing the communal meal.

Side note: This was a communal MEAL. Certainly the small wafers we eat and the small cuplet of liquid we drink couldn’t constitute a meal? Maybe we ought to think about this moving forward.

How were they dishonoring the Last Supper? The Oxford University Press points this out: “The wealthy members arrived at the communal meal before the others (because they didn’t have to work); by the time the working class members arrived, the food and drink had been consumed.” Dr. Farley also points out that there were some who were getting drunk during Communion.

Paul did not waste time, and he certainly did not waste his words, first in rebuking the Corinthians for their behavior and actions, but second, and more importantly, he did not waste his words in reminding the Corinthians, and in effect the body of Christ today, of the account to observe and recall: the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” The ESV shares that some manuscripts would say that Christ said ‘This is my body, which is broken for you.’ Furthermore, Luke 22:19 also points out that Christ said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you.’

So, apparently, in my own mind, before I get critical about how the ‘bread’ we eat is shaped like the sun and may be indicative of sun worship, or before I go ahead and look forward to any sort of supernatural healing that’s supposed to follow after I eat, the one thing that we ought to remember, the main narrative that is in our mind first and foremost when we eat is that Christ gave His body, and He gave His body to be broken for us.

We eat, and we remember first and foremost that Christ gave His body, and He gave His body to be broken for us. Christ became sin, and in His body He took the death, the brokenness that we deserved.

I’m anticipating that a lot of the people I’m going to be sharing this to are still in the inclination of expecting some sort of supernatural healing while they swallow the bread… and to this, I could say that there is absolutely NO guarantee that our infinite God would heal us according to our finite thinking and expectations, but I WILL grant that, at the very worst, all the pain, all the trauma, all the fear and all the anguish and all the brokenness that we WOULD experience will NOT stay with us forever.

That’s what we remember when we eat.

1 Corinthians 11 continues: In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

We’ve hyped the bread so much that we forgot the sheer importance of the wine, and the blood. But as you can see, it’s by the cup that we remember that Christ established the New Covenant by His blood. And just so that we’re all clear on what the New Covenant is, let’s take a look at Jeremiah 31:33-34:

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

I wanted to underline some other parts of this wonderful set of verses, and to go deeper into the New Covenant, but I want to put that aside for now. I think for now I have all I need where God said, ‘I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.’

Now before we go ahead and say that the Law was written on our hearts for us now to obey them, let me have us consider Romans 6:17-18: But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I think that when God said He would put His law within us and write it on our hearts, another way of saying it was to say that we’ve been made obedient from the heart. Furthermore, it means that we who were once slaves to sin have now been set free from sin and have become slaves of righteousness.

Friends, obedience.. and I dare say, righteousness is no longer an attribute that we need to work for and prove – all this, being obedient from the heart, having the law written in our heart, and being slaves to righteousness? Well, it all emphasizes that the blood of Christ has guaranteed that righteousness is part of our identity. What does this mean? Well, it means that we don’t need anyone to tell us not to sin anymore – we could try to sin, but because we’re righteous from the heart, it wouldn’t feel as good as it used to feel! And on the other hand, since we’ve become Christ’s righteousness unto eternal life, it’d be natural for us to demonstrate it in our own lives!

And so we drink, and we remember first and foremost that Christ gave His blood – and it’s His blood that ushers in the New Covenant. This New Covenant states that God has written His righteousness on our hearts. Because of His blood, we became righteous, and we were brought to life, with the Life that He deserved.

That’s what we remember when we drink.

So, in a nutshell:

When we eat the bread, we remember that Christ became our sin, and His body took the death we deserved.

When we drink the wine, we remember that we became His righteousness; by His blood we’ve been given everlasting life.

Indeed, we do this, in remembrance of Christ.

This is as far as I go when I share this to the congregation tomorrow… But what’s my main point in all of this?

I talked about the Fallout Universe, probably to merely point out that we create something, the world would know if it was birthed in shallow waters (Fallout 76, Fallout Tactics, and Fallout BOS) or a solid narrative (Every other game in the Fallout Universe). By the way, side note to follow up the previous side note I made earlier: I may refer to ‘Holy Communion’ from now on as a communal meal – Heck, maybe that’s the direction my ‘Worship Services’ are going to – maybe we’ll all just be having communal meals and celebrating Christ corporately that way. We’re already doing it as a team.

Similarly I unwrapped my thoughts on Holy Communion, perhaps to point out how we naturally move from one (created) mindset to another, until we find our true ‘home’, or a mindset that is closest to the Truth. Indeed, we move from glory to glory, walking unto the brighter day.

No matter where we are in our walk with Truth, who is no less than Christ Himself – and even IF we’ve never walked with Him, Fallout has taught me that once you’ve had a taste of the Truth, you’d find everything else bland and shallow. And upon thinking of my Holy Communion ‘journey’, I’ve realized that nothing but the Truth would satisfy us.

Again. Nothing but the Truth would satisfy us. And once you’ve had a taste of the Truth, you’d find everything else bland and shallow.

I’ve written all this over the span of this day, and I guess I appreciate how it all came together. I’ve certainly learned a lot, clarified a lot, and maybe you got something out of this too.

However it turned out for you I appreciate you sticking around this long. If you’ve noticed, I’ve changed my ‘AI Art’ featured image from WOMBO Dream to MidJourney. Wonderful and very potent AI.

Until the next post, God bless you.

3 thoughts on “Bread, Wine, and Nuka-Cola – September 10, 2022 (268-270/365)

Add yours

    1. Hallo there! Yes and no, I type in the prompts and the AI does the drawing. I’ve been using WOMBO Dream for the longest time, but recently I’ve been more amazed with Midjourney. Hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

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