Personally, I find time a very confusing creation. I look back to when I bought my first Beatles record in 1974, and it seemed as if the Beatles must have at that date been broken up for an entire generation. In fact, it had been 4 years. But now it’s been 35 years since I bought that record, which is not only much longer than the time between the Beatles’ breakup and my first Beatles record, but is in fact about as much time as the time from when the Beatles themselves were born until I bought that record.
Time is just plain weird.
But I think I’ve figured out the secret to understanding time, and it’s all right here in Luke 22:14-30.
If you want to understand time, then I submit you can do no better than trying to understand the Lord’s Supper. It’s amazing how many times eating appears in the Bible, especially when Jesus is involved. Of course, Adam and Eve fell over a meal, and Satan entered Judas in a meal. But the essence of the Kingdom of Heaven seems to be eating and drinking with Jesus, for He says in Luke 22:29, “I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom.”
Jesus says this, we should notice, at the Last Supper, when He is eating and drinking with them, even as His kingdom is about to experience its greatest victory. “This, this here, what you’re doing right now in eating and drinking with Me at My table: this is the essence of My kingdom,” He says to His disciples.
And it is the essence of God’s kingdom for us as His disciples as well, for what do eating and drinking represent? Fellowship with God, that God is truly with us and allows us to participate in His life with Him. But He does not share just any food or drink with us: He shares Himself, He who is True Food and True Drink. He who is the Bread of Heaven and the Living Water – He is the one who gives Himself to us.
Union with God is the ultimate goal of mankind, and Jesus says “Here is how to have union with Me: eat and drink with me.”
But Jesus goes a step further, because He also says not just “Eat and drink with Me in My kingdom,” but “Eat and drink me, for I am both the King and the Kingdom.”
This eating of Jesus then, is the very essence of the Kingdom of heaven, and He offers it here to His disciples, including us.
For this reason, we should make every effort to partake of the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion with Him, for He has invited us to His feast at which He is the Host or Celebrant who invites and tends to us; the reason for the Feast (because He’s getting married to His Bride, the Church); and He is the Food and Drink at the Feast. Just as Jesus was present to His disciples at the Last Supper (which could easily be called the First Supper, for it is the beginning of the True Feast), He is present with us when we eat His Body and drink His Blood at His Supper.
In the Lord’s Supper, when we eat and drink with Jesus in His kingdom, we experience time as God experiences it: as past-present-future, the three-in-one. We experience the past because at this first Last Supper Jesus miraculously transformed the Passover into the Lord’s Supper, just as He miraculously transformed water into wine and the Old Covenant into the New Covenant. In the Lord’s Supper we experience the past as well because in it we are to commemorate or remember Jesus’ life-giving Sacrifice for us.
The Lord’s Supper is our present as well because we eat it in real time. I think in Heaven, whatever Heaven is like, there will be joy like that which comes from eating and drinking in the presence of good company. Our present is linked to our past because at the Lord’s Supper, God re-presents to us the nourishment and blessing that comes from the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Because the Lord’s Supper is linked by Jesus to His kingdom where there will be eating and drinking, it is also a manifestation of our future together. The Lord’s Supper has eschatological significance because it points to the fulfillment of all of the blessings we will experience in Heaven. In fact, as often as we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we could say that we have been in Heaven already, where the angels and archangels and all the heavenly host join us for worship.
What shall we do at the hours and days when we are not presently partaking of the Lord’s Supper? Remember that it is just an intensification and reminder of what each day and each moment is supposed to be: life lived eating and drinking in the presence of Jesus, who is our heavenly and daily food.
There are, then, at least three levels of eating and drinking with Jesus in His kingdom. Day by day and moment by moment, we are to abide in Him and feed off of Him as a vine feeds off the branches. In heaven, we will eat and drink with Him in complete satisfaction and to our heart’s and body’s content. And in the Lord’s Supper, the daily earthly and eternal heavenly eating and drinking meet.
Prayer: Father, thank You for sharing Yourself with me through Your Son by Your Spirit. Thank You for sending me Your heavenly food each day: may You remind me to feed off of Jesus, Your Son, every day and throughout each day. Remind me of Your love in the past; strengthen my faith today in the present; and allow me to see the hope of life forever in Your kingdom.
Point for Meditation:
1. How could I prepare more adequately for the next time I will partake of the Lord’s Supper?
2. Your life in Christ is a daily feast spread before you. Have you been eating balanced and nutritious meals? If not, for what “food groups” could you improve your eating habits?
Resolution: I resolve today to meditate upon the Kingdom of heaven, which is eating and drinking in the presence of God. I resolve to find both and nourishment with Jesus today.
© 2013 Fr. Charles Erlandson