Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lord's Supper Demonstrates the Past, Present, and Future of Christ's Redemptive Work

The eucharistic prayer was a condensed form of the biblical story before creeds found a secure place in the order of service.  The eucharistic meal needs to be set in the context of the whole story of creation, redemption, and sanctification by the will of the Father, through the work of the Son, realized in the community created by the Holy Spirit.  For this meal focuses on bread and wine drawn from the gifts of creation; it regards the eating of the bread and the sharing of the cup as signs proclaiming the Lord Jesus’ death until he comes; and it anticipates the heavenly banquet by virtue of the coming again of the Lord in his body and blood.  Any coming of the Crucified and Risen One brings judgment and vindication, and therefore the community must be prepared to eat and drink together in the Lord’s presence in a worthy manner—reconciled with the Lord and with each other (see 1 Cor. 11:27-32).…

The church is an assembly “called out” of the world in order to enact in the midst of “this world” “the life of the world to come.” It does so by celebrating the eucharist as an eschatalogical event (the Lord’s Supper) by virtue of the presence of the Crucified and Risen One who reigns as Lord and comes again as judge.  It does so on the day on the day of resurrection (the Lord’s Day) in order to express the tension between the time of “this world” and the “fullness of time” in the eschatalogical presence of Christ and his kingdom.  The church gathers around the Lord’s table not so much because its individual members need the benefits of the gift of communion, but because the church itself—convened by the word—is constituted as the Lord’s people in the Lord’s Supper, and is sent from the meal into the world in the abiding presence of Christ through his Spirit to proclaim the gospel to the whole of creation (Mark 16:15-16) and all the nations (Matt. 28:16-20).

Frank Senn, Christian Liturgy, 702-703

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