Until He Comes
Scheduled for December 28
26:29 NIV) I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit
of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my
of the many uses of ritual is to teach. Most of us learn best through
repetition. If you think not, try diagramming this sentence. Unless you
happen to teach English, most likely you can’t do it. It’s not that you
weren’t taught how; it’s just that you don’t practice it. The same thing is
true in our ritual life. If you wish to learn from it, you must repeat it. So
we repeat those rituals whose lessons need to be learned and relearned;
therefore, we repeat the Lord’s Supper.
reason for this is that in Communion we proclaim not only the death, burial and
resurrection of our Lord, but also his coming again. It is not an aspect of
Communion which is much emphasized. Indeed, I find that the return of the Lord
is a subject which is dealt with very lightly in the church today (with some
notable exceptions). This is strange, considering that we proclaim it every
week in our ritual.
no mistake about it: we do proclaim it in the Lord’s Supper. Our Lord
explicitly connected this Passover meal with his return. Indeed, not with a
return visit, but with the establishment of his Father’s kingdom. You cannot
take the Lord’s Supper and consistently deny the return of Christ.
also taught that when he returns in power and glory we will see the
resurrection of the dead. There are many disputing theories about the details
of this, but all agree on these things:
All the dead will be raised -- to
face some sort of judgment.
The dead in Christ will be raised
like He was raised -- incorruptible.
The resurrection is a bodily
resurrection, not just a “spiritual” one.
than this is difficult to say. Leaving aside the controversial, those who are
in Christ will be raised from the dead, in bodily form, to meet him at his
return. That body is an eternal body; the fellowship with him and with the
Father is eternal.
we proclaim this truth every time we take Communion. Our deepest thoughts, the ones which surpass words,
are acted out in symbol and ritual. This is a part of the deepest ritual in
“a part.” The resurrection of the dead cannot be separated from the Passion of
Christ. The resurrection is not an afterthought; it is not a pleasant
epilogue to Christ’s ministry. The resurrection is part and parcel of the
first coming of Christ. He meant to bring this message. The Old Testament
hints at it (in a couple of passages rather explicitly); all of Christ’s
teaching on the subject presumes it. Paul develops it more fully. Jesus
Christ did not intend his sacrifice to be effective in this life only. When
you take this cup, you look backward to the sacrifice -- and forward to his