Robert Jenson on the Supper

I’ve just completed writing a lecture on the Supper. It was great fun to research, not least because I used it as an excuse to read Robert Jenson’s two-volume systematics. And while I don’t engage with Jenson in the lecture per se, his charateristically-stimulating work charged my thinking in ways that I had not anticipated and which birthed some fruitful avenues of thought. Here’s one passage that I spent some time meditating on:

‘When the Eucharist is celebrated, Christ’s promises of the Kingdom and of his presence in it are in fact fulfilled: even though the Kingdom is still future so long as we are not risen, each celebration is already a wedding feast. Anticipation, we may say, is visible prophecy; so in the Eucharist we come together to live the Kingdom’s fellowship beforehand. But our coming together, however faithful and pious, does not locate us at the gate of heaven, unless God puts us there. That he does is the content of faith that has the Supper itself as the external object to which it clings. That is, it is the content of faith in those other promises: “This bread is my body. This cup is my blood of the new covenant”’. – Robert W. Jenson, Systematic Theology, Volume 2: The Works of God (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 216.

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