But when we do that, we say that the only thing that happens is what we do. God does nothing. He did a lot. But now, we just remember the past.
The story of the Bible has a simple outline. God made the heavens and the earth. Man lived in a perfect place in daily, intimate communion with God. But man sinned, and so man and the earth were cursed. God has ever since worked, in love, to restore us to Eden–a place where God provided man with his food as a gift, where man did not have to work for his meals.
In Abraham, in Moses on Sinai, in the Tabernacle, in the Temple, God came and lived with his people in a limited way–but a way that brought heaven and earth closer to together.
Ultimately, in Jesus, God walked the earth again, in love, seeking intimate communion with man. But man killed him, seeking to defeat the Lord of the universe, only to learn that the death of our Lord brought the Kingdom of Heaven to earth–bringing heaven and earth closer for far more people in far more ways.
Now God lives in us through his Spirit. We have become his temple on earth. Indeed, Jesus walks the earth even today through his body, the church.
And so heaven is closer than ever since Eden–but still not close enough! There will come a Day when we are restored to Paradise–to Eden–where our communion with God will be unlimited and unimpeded by our own weakness. And where God will once again provide the meals.
Isaiah gives us a taste of what it will be like when heaven and earth are renewed and brought together by God at the End, when we live in God’s own house.
(Isa. 25:6-8) On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine–the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
(Isa. 55:1-2) “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
We are told that that heaven will be a banquet! A great love feast that never ends! A dinner that delights the soul. A free banquet with food better than even the best of earthly food!
And the Lord’s Supper, this little bit of Jesus, is a foretaste–first fruits, as the prophets like to say–of the great eternal banquet.
Just as will be true in heaven, as we eat, God is here. God sits at the table with us and enjoys our company and we enjoy his. He is here! Now! Because this is the Lord’s Supper, for a moment, because God’s people are gathered and because we remember why we eat–God is really here.
And Jesus provides the food for free–the Passover Lamb that protects us from death and frees us from slavery. And for a moment, heaven and earth come together, a little closer, as we feast with those who live in heaven.
Is the Lord’s Supper a symbol? Most certainly. Is it just a symbol? By no means.