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J B Phillips on the Value of Communion

“We really show irreverence, we really dishonor Christ, when we refuse to believe that His Life, with its transforming and activating powers, can be resident in such people as ourselves.” (32)

“It is obvious that the Christian life can be maintained without Holy Communion at all. Indeed, it is so maintained, for example, both by the Quakers and by the Salvation Army. But it is surely not the normal, surely not the ‘Catholic’ way (in its proper sense), in which the Spirit has led the Church through the centuries. A man may lead a happy and useful life with only one lung, or with part of his internal organs removed by surgery, but that is not the norm. Obviously it is possible for God to give His grace in a dozen different ways, but it is difficult to see why Christ instituted this particular means of spiritual nutrition unless it had a particular point and purpose for the vast army of His future followers. Indeed, it is true to say from experience that Christians, unless they are prejudiced, or conditioned by their upbringing, are drawn intuitively toward Holy Communion. Their own natural spiritual hunger draws them instinctively toward the holy provision of the Lord’s Table.” (33-34)

“…we can accept the cordial of God’s free forgiveness and reinstatement. There is no question of our deserving such generous love, but it is a fact of life of which we can be quite sure.” (57)

J.B. Phillips, Appointment with God: Some thoughts on Holy Communion

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