A Word from Canon Hicks from the June 25/July 2, 2017 Adventurer
I absolutely love our stained glass windows. Many who have been a part of the Advent for decades will tell you (and I think they’re right) that there’s a lifetime of reflection and depth in them.
I was recently pondering the two big windows that adorn our eastern wall, flanking the Communion table, and I was struck by a few powerful thoughts. They help us understand what it means that we are the Cathedral Church of the Advent. The left window depicts Jesus’ first advent – his incarnation; the right displays his second advent – his future return. Here’s what hit me: the Communion table sits “between” Christ’s two advents, reminding us that the sacrament exists precisely so that the church can look both backward and forward. It brings to mind what Christ said through Paul: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26 ESV).
Communion first pulls us back, to the cross, where we remember, in the words of our Eucharistic prayer, “his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world.” But the table also pushes us forward, to the end, where we are, in the words of our Post-Communion Prayer, “heirs through hope of thy everlasting kingdom.” In short, then, we receive the Lord’s Supper to remember God’s past actions that seal his future promises.
God’s “I love you” at the table is something we should hear as his own renewing and re-articulation of his vows that, because of the cross and the forgiveness found there, he will never let us go. He will see us through to the very end. As we come to the table this week, this month, this year, let us remember that we rest secure in the hands of the Father, who holds us fast during this temporary time between the two advents of Jesus.