Monday, July 02, 2007

Where Time and Worship Converge

I replied to some thoughts of my good friend Thom in a post below, but since my reply advances on one of my themes a bit, I thought I would post it out here so that anyone following along wouldn't miss it. These thoughts are not original, except for perhaps in my own head. But they are an important part of my progression in thinking through this. Thom spoke of pulling the OT feasts through the work of Christ, and this is how I responded...

Thanks for the thoughts, Thom. It is precisely this pulling through the cross that I am ultimately preoccupied with. We must recognize that there is some discontinuity between the old administration and the new (although I am loath to use the word discontinuity). What then is the nature of that discontinuity and what are its practical effects? Christ has fulfilled the figures. He is that thing symbolized and looked forward to by the OT symbols. However, his fulfillment need not somehow trump the "forever" observance of, for example, passover. So we have in Passover one of the clearest examples. Clear because it was reinterpreted by our Lord himself. It has become the supper. So the command to observe passover forever is complied with in our observance of communion. And just as passover looked both backwards and forwards, so must communion as well. Communion is both a memorial of the finished work of Christ in space and time, as well as a reminder of the future reality of our perfect redemption and the perfect redemption of all creation. But they are brought together in the now not simply through memorial and reminder, but by the spiritual presence of the Lord himself in which all these things come together. In this way, we more clearly understand our union in Christ, and therefore also with one another. What a beautiful image!

If this is the case with Passover, why should it be true of Passover only? Some would argue it is because Christ only explicitly gave us this reinterpretation, and no other. Those of us coming from a more reformed tradition would also make the connection with regard to circumcision (which is also a forever institution) and baptism, with which it has been reinterpreted. And I willingly concede that Christ does not seem to have explicitly reinterpreted any of the other feasts. However, this fails to take seriously the forever quality of the feasts in the Jewish calendar.

More on this soon.

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