The concept of Liturgical rites and Time


I am giving a talk on church rites and I wanted to ask regarding the concept of time and the liturgical rites we practice. For example, when we celebrate the Eucharist, we are partaking of the flesh and blood of Christ, we believe that we partake of the same flesh and blood as was given to the apostles in the night of the last supper. God continually changes and transforms these offerings into His flesh and blood every time we celebrate the Liturgy. The sacrifice has already been offered and yet we partake of it in every Liturgy; in this sense, you can say that this rite is outside the realm of time, or surpasses it. I also understand that when we celebrate a certain event (i.e. the holy fifty) we "enter" into that reality. Yes, we not only commemorate the event but we actively live in I have been told.  I was wondering if someone can elaborate on what this means exactly....

I have an idea in mind but I would like clarification. My idea is that, say for the feast of nativity, we say "Christ is born." Now, an outside spectator might come and say "you mean Christ was born?" But in actuality Christ IS being "born" in the life of the individual, in the sense that Christ is starting to become more apparent in my life; He is starting to appear through my the same way He is "risen" in me every time I find strength in Him.....this is all speculation i guess....i would like to hear your thoughts


  • I highly recommend this article which I summarized into a simple PowerPoint for a college class I taught once. It summarizes very well in detail your questions:

    Christ is above time. Anything that He does He does while within time also within an eternal realm, since He is also God. Therefore when we celebrate the liturgy, we are bodies of Christ, and are therefore "in Christ" as it is happening. We say "TODAY" Christ is born, "TODAY", Christ is entering Jerusalem in a colt with glory, "TODAY", Christ is risen, "TODAY", Christ is ascended to the Father, "TODAY", Christ has come again, has judged the living and the dead, and we live in eternity with Him (which is what the 50 days celebrated, typified as 50 "8th days").

    That is why every liturgy is not only a commemoration, and a transportation into the Last Supper. We are there, sitting with Christ, as He Himself tells us "This is my body...This is my blood". We will do this even in the second coming in a more glorious fashion, and we are living this second coming in the liturgy. That is why the liturgy is so important, but many people sadly take it so lightly as a mere ritual.
  • Mina,

    Thanks for the article! I think I will need to sit down and read that thing carefully...

    One other thing.....When you say "Christ rode on a donkey today" I am having trouble understanding this in the literal sense...I mean Christ right now is at the right Hand of the Father in His full glory

  • Christ has already been at the Right Hand of the Father. That is what Christ is by nature. His ascension is "our ascension in Him". So whenever Christ does something, it is for us. When Phil. 2:9 speaks about "God highly exalting Him", He needs no exaltation, but it us we who are "in Him" who are exalted. So when He is on a colt, we are in Him doing so, and when He ascends to the Father, we are in Him doing so. He is all in all for us, and we liturgically commemorate in a transformational manner these instances in Christ's life as we experience them "in Him" TODAY, He is who is above time and experienced all He did ONCE for all. He is timeless in timed form, so that in the liturgical times and seasons we may partake of His timelessness.
  • Yes Christ was never not at the Right Hand of the Father but I was speaking in His human form. Christ, as we know, became man and chose to come down in our realm which is subject to time and space. This means He Cannot be at two places at once (I am referring to His flesh). Of course there are "loopholes" if you will, since God can and does appear in the flesh every time we partake of the Eucharist (which happens in many different places all at the same time) but I am not referring to these instances.
  • I am not saying God cannot choose to appear in two different places, I am just saying He willingly subjected Himself to our limitations.
  • True He did.  But He also can choose to transcend these limitations at times.  If Christ can appear in the Eucharist at different times and different places, He can certainly have us appear in Him at His different times and places of the life He spent on earth.  Christ even in His humanity can do so because now His humanity is glorified.  Therefore, we are glorified in His presence, transcending time in a mysterious way during the liturgy.
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