The glory of the incarnation is that the physicality of Jesus—His human nature—is the very means by which God is known. In other words, the humanity of Jesus was not an obstacle to God’s revelation that we somehow need to look past to find God. On the contrary, the humanity of Jesus, His tangible, physical, material presence, was and is the way by which God is known through Jesus. The incarnation is the ultimate declaration of what is proclaimed repeatedly in Genesis 1: God saw what He had made, and it was good.
—Gordon T. Smith, A Holy Meal: The Lord’s Supper in the Life of the Church, 27
O wonder of wonders, which none can unfold;
The Ancient of Days is an hour or two old;
The maker of all things is made of the earth,
Is worshipped by angels, our God comes to birth.
—Henry R. Bramley (1833-1917)
We should not think of the Eucharist not so much as Christmas—as if the Son were born again in bread—but instead think about it instead in terms of Advent. This table marks a triple Advent: It celebrates the past coming of the Lord; it is the coming of the Lord; and it looks ahead to the coming of the Lord. We commemorate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; we feed on Him by the Spirit; we proclaim the Lord’s death until He come.
When we view it as an Advent meal, we see that this Supper is about Jesus’ absence as well as His presence; it’s about the future as well as the present. It is a present feast, a feast we celebrate because the Lord has come. But it is not yet a full banquet, because the Lord is still to come.
Every worship service should be a courtroom scene where, upon acquittal, the defendant hugs the lawyer who got him off.
—Joe Novenson (sermon on John 14, January 29, 2006)
God, and not his gifts, is the primary focus of Pauline thanksgiving. In focusing on the gift, a ‘thank-you’ might have been sufficient. In focusing on the Lord of all, however, worship and submission are required.
—David W. Pao, Thanksgiving: An Investigation of a Pauline Theme, 37
We receive God’s Grace through the Word and we return to God in thanksgiving the Grace that we have received through the Word. Grace (eucharis) is what we receive. Thanksgiving (eucharistia) is the Grace that we give back to the Father.
—David W. Torrance, “The Word of God in Worship,” Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 1 (1983):11-16
In the case of the God of the universe, such possibility of return [reciprocation for a favor bestowed] dissipates, as no human beings can offer anything in return that can do justice to the gift received. The only proper response, then, is praise and worship. In describing divine-human encounter, therefore, thanksgiving and praise understandably merge and become the one and only proper and response to God who is the source of all power and goodness.
In short, to offer thanks to God is to live a life of worship.
—David W. Pao, Thanksgiving: An Investigation of a Pauline Theme, 28, 164