In John Frame’s Systematic, he concludes his section on the Lord’s Supper by briefly talking about the three-fold aspect that is experienced in the Supper. It’s the three-fold aspect that is found in many places, not only found in Frame. That being said the three aspects of the Supper are critical. On one hand we don’t want to deny something is happening and on the other hand we don’t want to collapse the future reality in the present. In the first view we undermine the importance with merely memorializing and in the second we erase that tension in an over-realized eschatology.
When we take the Lord’s Supper we reflect on the past, present, and future. It is a time where we remember the death of Christ and the salvation that he accomplished for us. It is a present real and effective grace where the faithful are nourished as they feed on the true body of Christ. And it is a foretaste of the greater banquet to come when the Kingdom of God is fully manifested.
The Supper is a thanksgiving meal or referred to as the Eucharist (Greek word meaning thanksgiving) because of the thanksgiving references in Matthew, Luke, and 1 Corinthians.
Matt. 26:27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you,
Luke 22:17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
1Cor. 11:24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
When we eat the Supper we doing more than remembering, our souls are being nourished. This is how we grow in our intimacy and union with the resurrected and ascended Christ. Thus when the Apostle writes:
1Cor. 10:16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
Paul tells us there is significance in our eating and drinking. In it we are “participating” with the body of the risen Christ. We grow in our intimacy and union with him that we have by faith.
Just as there is a sample of a full meal at a restaurant. The Supper is a foretaste of the greater banquet that is to come. We are commanded to partake of this holy foretaste till Jesus comes back.
1Cor. 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
The bread and the wine is only a taste of the greater reality. It is a picture of how our relationship with the risen Jesus in the future glory will be greater (beyond comprehension) than our current reality.