Discourses at the Communion on Fridays by Søren Kierkegaard, Sylvia Walsh

By Søren Kierkegaard, Sylvia Walsh

Søren Kierkegaard's thirteen communion discourses represent a special style one of the quite a few varieties of spiritual writing composed by way of Kierkegaard. initially released at diversified occasions and locations, Kierkegaard himself believed that those discourses served as a unifying point in his paintings and have been the most important for figuring out his non secular inspiration and philosophy as an entire. Written in an intensely own liturgical context, the communion discourses organize the reader for participation during this ceremony by way of emphasizing the precise posture for forgiveness of sins and confession.

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Loving Much, Loving Little Christ’s pledge of the forgiveness of sin as a sign that Christ gives himself as a cover for our sins constitutes the gospel’s lenient word of consolation that is heard and received at the altar, providing rest for the troubled soul in the consciousness of the forgiveness of sin and in the realization that even if we are unfaithful Christ remains faithful in death as our savior and trusted friend who does not become weary of forgiving (44, 71–73). Just as his unchanged faithfulness is forgiveness for the penitent, however, it becomes a punishment and curse for those who deny him or take his faithfulness in vain.

For Christianity, after all, is not melancholy; on the contrary, it is so joyful that it is glad tidings to all the melancholy; only the frivolous and defiant can it make gloomy-minded. Behold, everything, everything I see is vanity and vicissitude as long as it exists, and in the end it is the prey of corruption. ’20 Even if the loveliness of the field that charmingly captivates the eye, and even if the melodiousness of the birdsong that falls blissfully upon the ear, and even if the peace of the forest that invitingly refreshes the heart were to employ all their persuasion, I still shall not allow myself to be persuaded, shall not allow myself to be deceived, I shall remind myself that it is all illusion.

Kierkegaard himself poses this question in the last communion discourse, not with respect to works, as the issue is traditionally raised and discussed in Christian theology, but in relation to love, namely whether “it is love that makes the decision whether and how one’s sins should be forgiven” (133–34). Kierkegaard answers this question with an emphatic “no,” pointing to the parable of two debtors in Luke 7:41–43—one of whom owed much, the other 32 Introduction little, but both of whom had their debts cancelled—as an illustration of Christ’s teaching that forgiveness is not dependent on how much one owes or on one’s ability to repay a debt, yet the person who is forgiven the most should love the most in return.

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