June 24, 2008

The Lord's Supper as Feast

Matthew 26:26-30

“I will not drink of this … from now on until … I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Matthew 26:29


As Jesus was introducing his disciples and us to the Lord’s Supper, he gave us an imaginative clue about the future. One day, Jesus said, he will be feasting again with all of his disciples. After all the sad events of Jesus’ suffering and death, there would one day be a feast! The book of Revelation picks up this compelling imagery when it describes the “wedding supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9).

The image of feasting is an image of abundance and celebration. In just about every culture, the days that people look forward to most are holidays or celebrations filled with feasting. In times of famine or poor harvest, the food may actually be quite modest. But in days of plenty or in days of want, the feast is marked by celebration and gratitude.

Feasting also gives an image of togetherness. You can’t really have a feast by yourself. The whole point is the sharing together—the sharing of wonderful food and the sharing of one another in fellowship.

Every time the church celebrates the Lord’s Supper, it is not only looking back to the cross. It is also, like Jesus, looking forward. When we take the bread and cup, we practice the virtue of hope, eagerly anticipating that day when we will feast with Jesus and all his followers in the fullness of God’s kingdom.

Loving God, our minds and hearts are so often preoccupied with worries for today. Free us to look ahead with joy and hope to the feast of the coming kingdom. Amen.

About the author — John D. Witvliet

Dr. John D. Witvliet has served as a professor at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary for the past 11 years, as well as serving as Director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He and his wife, Charlotte, have four children.

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