The Politics of the Memorial

I have guest posted over on Political Theology Today, on the subject of Maundy Thursday, the Passover, and the memorial meal.

This combination of historical memory and eschatological hope in the celebration of the Eucharist—the Christian Passover—is exhibited at various points in 1 Corinthians 11. The explicit reference to the anticipated coming of our Lord in verse 26 is one example of this. However, in the verses that follow this, it seems clear that the Eucharist functioned as a sort of proleptic judgment, an advance testing of the Church before the universal judgment to come at Christ’s great and final advent. It also was a reality-filled promise of the joyful feast of the coming kingdom.

Although not uncommonly practiced as such, the Eucharistic memorial was never a commemoration of a closed event, like an effigy-bearing lid of a sarcophagus, a lifeless likeness from an unretrievable past. The memorialized death is the death of the risen One, the memorialization the same action in which he revealed himself to two amazed disciples at a meal in Emmaus after his resurrection (Luke 24:30-31).

This Maundy Thursday, when our attention is drawn back, once again, to the events and words of that upper room, let us discover there a living past, and actions that still propel and orient our time. The memorial that Christ instituted there continues to establish the steady rhythm of God’s time in our world, to evoke and anticipate his promised future, and make present the power of his past covenant-establishing action.

Read the whole thing here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in 1 Corinthians, Bible, Christian Experience, Eschatology, Exodus, Guest Post, Holy Week, Liturgical Theology, Luke, NT, NT Theology, OT, OT Theology, Politics, Sacramental Theology, The Atonement, The Atonement, The Church, The Gospels, The Sacraments, Theological, Theology, Worship. Bookmark the permalink.

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