The sacramental actions of the church—baptism and the Lord’s Supper—are concrete, tangible, and visible means by which the church takes the very stuff of creation, water, bread, and cup, and in response to the invitation and command of Christ reenacts the wonder of the gospel. In so doing, the material creation is a means by which God’s grace is known.
—Gordon T. Smith, A Holy Meal: The Lord’s Supper in the Life of the Church, 28
The eucharistic bread and wine are real bread and wine, . . nonetheless different from our ordinary bread and wine, for they are restored to their true end, they secretly justify and hallow all the food of this world by the promise of the Messianic banquet which they carry.
It is the same with Sunday which restores time to its true end, of doxological duration, and secretly it justifies and hallows all the other days.
—Jean-Jacques von Allmen, Worship: Its Theory and Practice, 223-4
That which is received in the Sacraments is not something other than that which is received in the Word, though it is received in a different way; for both in Word and Sacraments it is Jesus Christ Himself who comes to us.
—C.E.B. Cranfield, “Divine and Human Action: The Biblical Concept of Worship,” Interpretation 12:4 (October, 1958), 395
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.
We are to discern the Lord’s body in one another. When the Lord’s Supper is being served, we should sit up straight, and look around the congregation, eyes open, up and down our row. It is true that we are to examine ourselves, but we are to do so in relation to one another. We must not curl up in a little ball, close our eyes, and try to establish a private, spiritual moment with Jesus.
—Douglas Wilson, A Primer on Worship and Reformation, 57
The Lord’s Supper for children (and others):
“Look up, look within, look around, look back, look ahead.”
—John Witvliet, quoting his pastor
The Lord’s Supper was never conceived in the early Church, as it came to be by some in later times, as a solemn wake held in sad remembrance of One who died. From the beginning it was a meal of fellowship, dominated by thanksgiving offered in praise, wonder, and adoration of the Lord of life who had broken the bonds of death and was alive for evermore, really and eternally present with His people.
—William D. Maxwell, Concerning Worship, 14