Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Lord's Supper: The Nexus of Heaven and Earth; the Future, the Present, and the Past

Another hymn that I love to read and meditate on (that for some reason I've never gotten to sing in corporate worship) is the hymn, "Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face," (Trinity Hymnal, #378).  It does a beautiful job of displaying Christ in the elements of bread and wine and the fellowship that brings.  Yet, it also has a very biblical-theological presentation of that fellowship.  First, it reveals the horizontal plane of continuity of God's redemptive plan in Christ by tying together the past redemptive acts of Christ, the present act of fellowship because of those acts, and the future consummation of the fellowship to which the supper points.  Yet, it also beautifully reveals the vertical dimension of God's redemptive plan by bringing together heaven and earth through the worship of the Lord's Supper.  There is true fellowship in the heavenly presence of Christ enjoyed by his still earthly pilgrim people.  Although the church has not entered into the full consummation that will take place at the end of history (the horizontal plane), the church does not have to wait until the end to enjoy that heavenly fellowship (the vertical) now.

In the Supper, the horizontal and the vertical come together.  Each time the church fellowships with Christ and one another around the elements of bread and wine, they enter into the future, while in the present, because of the past, because in that moment, heaven and earth come together.

Oh what fellowship we have with the Christ at his table!

Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen,
Here grasp with firmer hand th'eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon thee lean.

Here would I feed upon the bread of God,
Here drink with thee the royal wine of heav'n;
Here would I lay aside each earthly load,
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.

This is the hour of banquet and of song;
This is the heav'nly table spread for me:
Here let me feast, and, feasting, still prolong
The brief, bright hour of fellowship with thee.

I have no help but thine, nor do I need
Another arm save thine to lean upon:
It is enough, my Lord, enough indeed;
My strength is in thy might, thy might alone.

Mine is the sin, but thine the righteousness;
Mine is the guilt, but thine the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace,
Thy blood, thy righteousness, O Lord my God.

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