聖禮儀 (三)：獻祭 講道：李亮神父 英文講稿紀錄：Prof. Baker 翻譯：張奉書
這主日我會繼續說明聖禮儀，因這是非常非常重要的一件事。你們要了解不是人到了教會就好，而是要親自參加聖禮儀，並知道所進行的內容。在上周的討論中，我們說到了大進堂禮(the Great Entrance)和Anaphora的部分，而這個Anaphora希臘字的意思就是將我們所有的一切帶來獻給神。也就是說，祭司是主領者與所有會眾一起參與，會眾帶來餅與酒，還有代禱者名單，將這一切獻給神。另外重要的是，信經是非常純正的信仰內容，在誦讀信經之後，我們開始向神獻祭。獻祭的重點和原因，在於我們這樣的行為是極具價值的、是真實的、也是公義的。這樣的獻祭不是向神送上禮物，卻期待神的回禮，這就變得像是向神敲詐了。不是那樣的，這樣的獻祭，是永恆至極的愛。
我們愛某個人，我們會把自己交給對方，這就是所謂的「關係」。關係不只是給對方一些東西，不是把我們擁有的（what we have）送給對方，而是把我們自己（what we are）送給對方。聖禮儀與「真愛」、與「婚姻之愛」有著十分深刻的聯繫和呼應。這是為何創世紀中一開始就是二個人的婚姻（亞當與夏娃）；另外，耶穌傳福音的起點，也是在迦納的一場婚宴中。
聖靈改變了餅和酒，但東正教從一開始就不曾去解釋到底是如何改變的。在中世紀時，經院哲學(scholastic philosophy)是在教會大分裂(the Schism)之後發展出來的，因為哲學思想的影響，羅馬天主教試圖解釋聖靈「如何」改變餅酒這件事，那時每個人都要問:「到底是怎麼形成的?」他們借用亞里斯多德的論理，認為是藉「聖餐變質(transubstantiation)」而改變本質。但無論如何，這不是正確解釋，東正教並不接納對於聖餐「如何」形成的任何解釋。就像我們也不可能解釋出神子「如何」道成肉身。這樣的奧秘，除了神以外沒有人能夠理解。如同大馬士革的聖約翰所說：「你只要知道這是藉著聖靈造成的就夠了……我們只知道神的道是真實的、活躍的、全能的，但是它的作用方式無法被探究」。
再次，如我之前說過，台灣人說「辦活動、辦活動」。但此地所行的就是最崇高的活動，參與聖禮儀就是強而有力的心智活動。所以我們來到教會，耶穌基督在這裡，我們再次帶來要獻上的一切，我們再一次對祂訴說我們的需要，我們祈求世界平安、我們個人所需，也為了一切向祂祈求。聖禮儀到此仍未結束，因為還有一樣事情還沒說到，對我們是最重要的事情:也就是領受聖體聖血(The Holy Communion)—與主共融。神變成食物，讓我們領受；祂不是變成老師，或交給我們一本書。到這時刻是與神真正的合一，不是指心靈的合一，而是真正全人的合一。
2015.05.17 Sunday of the Blind Man
Liturgy III : Offering
Sermon: Fr. Jonah
Transcript: Prof. Baker
This Sunday, instead of giving a sermon, I will continue to explain to you the Liturgy because it is very, very important, not just for you to come to the Liturgy, but to participate in it and to know what is going on. In our discussion last week, we came to the Great Entrance and the Anaphora, which means that I offer everything to God. So, we say that the priest as the leader together with all the people, who bring the pieces of bread and the wine and all your names, and we will offer these to God.
It is very important that after the Creed, which is the correct faith, we start the offering to God. What is the point of offering? Why do we offer? We offer because it is worthy, it is actual, and just, This offering is not like we are offering a gift to God, like I offer something to you and expect to get something back, a little like blackmail. This is the ultimate love.
When we love somebody, we offer ourselves to that person, the man or woman that we love, and this is what call a relationship. A relationship is not only to give something to the other. It is not to give what we have, but what we are. And you must understand something, that the Liturgy is so deeply connected with real love, with a marriage. And this is why the Creation started with a marriage, a marriage between two human beings in Paradise. And when Jesus first started his public preaching, he was first glorified in a marriage at Cana. So we offer ourselves first.
And we also offer all these gifts, the bread and the wine, with the names of our beloved people, for whom I take a small piece of bread for every name that you brought. So offering means that we are almost like we are dead. We are saying that, “Lord, everything I have and that I am, I give to You.”
To whom are we offering? It is mainly to God the Father. Later in the traditional Liturgy, when the priest says the prayer, we offer to the Holy Trinity because the priest says to Jesus that, “You are the offerer and the one who receives the offering.” But mostly we offer to the Father. And we offer all the universe because the universe cannot go to God by itself. And this is the meaning of the priesthood. The priest is not a magician. The priest is not somebody who has more power than you, and who can do something strange and apply the grace of God. But you can see that Apostle Paul says that all the universe is suffering, is groaning because it wants to go to God but cannot. Why? It is because the universe has not the free will and the ability to go to God. There needs to be somebody to take this bread and this wine, which comes from the earth, and give it to God. And this is the meaning of the priesthood. And it is not only me, who is the priest here. From the very beginning, not everybody is an apostle or a deacon; that requires putting on of the hands. But you too are in a way priests also because this bread and this wine do not come here automatically. So this is your priesthood. And with your singing, your finishing my prayers with your “Amen,” the Holy Spirit comes.
So I want, when I die, I want you to remember something from me: that when you come to the Liturgy it is not like you are going to a theater or to a stadium to see a football match or play, but it is to exercise your prieisthood. For this we will say more at a later time, but for now I want to say that we offer as a community, and we offer ourselves first. We put in front of God our beloved people, our marriage, our problems, our happiness and our sorrows. And this is not just something philosophical; it is actual: we do it by giving the bread and the wine. And in the liturgy of the Heavens described in the Revelations by John, there is a Liturgy continuously happening. So with all the saints and al the angels we offer this to God the Father, from our poor love, and God accepts this. The Father accepts this, not because he needs, not because He cannot do differently, but because He is the ultimate love. It is very important to see that in the Chinese tradition, especially in Buddhism, a perfect Buddha does not need anything, and he is out of the world, not interfering with it very much. The bodhisattva, the pusa, is in the world but he is not a perfect Buddha. But the Father accepts our poor dirty gifts, which are so because we are not perfect, we have our weaknesses when we make all these things.
And by accepting our gifts, He gives us another gift, although we must understand that this is not an exchange of gifts, like I give you a gift and from politeness you feel that you must give me something in return. It is not like that. So God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to change the bread and the wine to become the flesh, the living flesh of His Son. So now we understand that our relationship with God is not a mental relationship only. It is not, “Jesus I love you and I believe in you.” That is not enough, because the Son of God becomes this bread and the wine. It is not that we crucify Jesus Christ again, as some people misunderstand. The Church is connected with the unique offering because who is the offering of Jesus Christ? It is because, as I say, the whole Church is making this offering through the hands of the priest.
Somebody might ask, “Why should God accept this offering from this idiot and very bad person, Father Jonah?” It is because although God may see the dirty hands of Father Jonah, He who is really making the offering is His Son. You see me, but Jesus is using my dirty and bad hands, and He is the real priest who is offering to His Father. So, here we are not just repeating the Last Supper, we are continuing it. And this is why God the Father says, “Yes, the Holy Spirit will come.” He does not say, “Enh? This very bad person, this sinner, Father Jonah asks to send the Holy Spirit and I will do it? No!” So the bread and the wind become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
And there is something more, which we have mostly in the most ancient liturgies, especially the Liturgy of St. Basil. When the Holy Spirit comes, it is not only to change the bread and the wine. It is to make us one. Now we understand why we come to the Church, and how important it is to come to the Church, because to become one with that person [pointing to someone in the congregation] – who cares? But it is to become one with in the body of Jesus Christ. So if this is the Body of Jesus Christ [pointing to his hand] then this is you and this is one and this is the other one [pointing at his fingers] So we become one as members of the Body of Jesus Christ. And by becoming members of Jesus Christ’s Body, we become members of each other.
And all these things are not merely symbols, as I have told you, because somebody might say, “If on Sunday we become members of each other and members of the Body of Jesus Christ, why should we come next week to do this another time?” Well, you see, you can have fire from charcoal burning, but later the fire will die down, so you stir it and the fire grows big again. We renew it; we renew our relationships. When we love somebody, we don’t just say, “I love you and I don’t need to have any other relationship with you.” But we kiss the person we love and it is not just once.
Now, so I say, the Holy Spirit changes the bread and the wine. The Orthodox Church, the Church from the beginning, has never tried to explain how it is changed. During the Middle Ages, with the Scholastic philosophy that developed after the Schism, the Roman Catholic Church tried to explain this change because of the influence of philosophy, where everybody wanted to ask “How?” They used some philosophical theory of Aristotle, changing a substance through “transubstantiation.” But anyhow this is not an explanation, and the Orthodox Church could never accept any explanation for how this happens. And how could we explain that the Son of God becomes human? How?
But it is very important that when all the angels are here and looking with fear and happiness at the unbelievable thing that the Son of God, their master, becomes this poor piece of bread and wine. And we are in a relationship such that everybody bows down and offers up the sacrifice to God. Then, you know it is a glory. This is the ultimate glory. And now we are in front of this ultimate glory of Paradise, which is already here and now. And now we feel that real life is not that we can breathe and that my heart is beating, but it is this [pointing to the chalice on the altar], the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This is why now we bring and we pray, saying, “Lord, you are the Life.” And the life is here, as the Gospel of John says. We touch Him and we know Him.
We bring to our minds the names of our dead people before God. We commemorate the dead people in front of Jesus, who is the source of real life. First the saints, and then our dead beloved people. This is why you give me the lists of names, and this is why I say to you that you must know the Liturgy, because this is the real commemoration, the real time to pray for your dead beloved people. And after this (and please this time you must bring the names of your dead beloved people) it is not just that you think, or that you can do it just by thinking. The parastas ceremony to commemorate a dead person [as we did this Sunday preceding the ceremony] of course is done. But the real commemoration is in front of the source of life, the real life, who is now in front of us, that you say their names in front of the Body of Jesus.
And after this we commemorate our living beloved. This why we say that we bring everybody to our minds, and at this time you should say the names of your wife, your kids, your parents, your friends, in front of the ultimate sacrifice of God, in front of the body of Jesus Christ.
As you understand, the Liturgy is not a simple thing. You must work very hard, right? It is not like sitting in a chair or as some people sit very far away, which shows psychologically that I don’t want to be very close. “I am a Christian. Enough; I don’t want to know more.” And if the poor priest dares to say anything, you will not come again, and you will crucify him.
But again, as I say, the Chinese people say, “activity, activity.” But here there is the highest activity, and it takes a very strong mental activity to participate in the Liturgy. And so, we [come to church] and after there is the presence of Jesus Christ here, we bring again and we remind Him once more of our needs: peace in the world, our personal needs, we remind Him of everything again. But the Liturgy is not over yet because something is missing – the most important thing for us: The Holy Communion. Because God became food, right? He did not become a teacher. So we have come to the time when we will have the real union with God: not a mental union, but a real union. I will talk with you about this next Sunday because I do not want to take too much advantage of your time. Thank you and forgive me for speaking too much.