Each Sunday, during the Lord’s Supper, when we are seated with Jesus in the heavenly places and about to eat the bread that he has given us, I say to you (quoting the Apostle Paul): “Alleluia, Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us!” And you respond: “Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!” And then we eat. It is perhaps the most sacred and beautiful thing that we partake of in this life.
Indeed, to keep the feast is a holy act. And all of our feasting is predicated on this: the Passover Lamb has truly been slain. And yet the Lamb who is slain also reigns enthroned in heaven, giving himself even now for the life of the world.
Another way to say it is like this. We are Baptized. We are Christians. And so all of the feasting that takes place in our homes and with our families and friends flows from the great feast of the Lord’s Table, which is itself a participation in the feast of Heaven. Our tables are joyous because His Table has made us partakers of a joy that cannot be taken from us.
This indeed is the mystery of our faith. We feast because Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again. Keeping the feast, even in the presence of our enemies. Keeping the feast, even in a world marred by sin and death. Keeping the feast because, in the words of Frederick Buechner, “what’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.”
I know that our feasts this week will likely feel different than they normally do, for a hundred different reasons. But still, I would encourage you to keep the feast.
Actually, in many ways, it is when we come to end of ourselves, the end of our own capacities for control and achievement and leverage that feasting becomes especially precious. We must be humble in order to feast with truly grateful hearts. And certainly the Lord, in his wisdom and kindness, has humbled us this year.
Solomon, when he had fully experienced the vaporous nature of his life, along with the riches of the mercy of God, wrote these simple and humble words. There was nothing left to say but this: “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved of what you do. Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vaporous life that he has given you under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7-9a)
To keep the feast this year is an act of faith, a feat of discipleship, a true participation in the risen life of Jesus. To keep the feast is to announce, even in a small way, that death does not win. That sorrow does not last forever. That sin and estrangement will not have the last word. For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us.
One man that truly understood the holy work of food and feasting was Robert Farrar Capon. His book, “The Supper of the Lamb”, is a triumph of Christian literature.
I leave you with Capon’s blessing as a benediction for your tables this Thursday.
“I wish you well. May your table be graced with lovely women and good men. May you drink well enough to drown the envy of youth in the satisfactions of maturity….May we all sit long enough for reserve to give way to ribaldry and for gallantry to grow upon us. May there be singing at our table before the night is done, and old, broad jokes to fling at the stars and tell them we are men.
We are great, my friend; we shall not be saved for trampling that greatness under foot … Come then; leap upon these mountains, skip upon these hills and heights of earth. The road to Heaven does not run from the world but through it. The longest Session of all is no discontinuation of these sessions here, but a lifting of them all by priestly love. It is a place for men, not ghosts—for the risen gorgeousness of the New Earth and for the glorious earthiness of the True Jerusalem.
Eat well then. Between our love and His Priesthoood, He makes all things new. Our Last Home will be home indeed.”
P. S. If you are without a place to share in a feast this Thursday, don’t hesitate to let me know. I would happy to help you find a hospitable table where you will be welcomed.