§11. The Banquet of the New Jerusalem: Eucharistic Shalom
Let me first recapitulate the central argument I am advancing in this series. Against the notion that the peace of the Lord is an “inner,” “spiritual” peace which only concerns the relationship between one’s soul and God, I am arguing that the gospel of salvation is a cosmic kerygma whose scope embraces the whole of creaturely existence, including the material, political, and economic dimensions of human society. More specifically, I have engaged in a close analysis of the biblical text in the construction of a christological-eschatological ecclesiology. The “Spirit of the Lord” is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and thus the Spirit of the cross and resurrection. As the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit is the agent of Christ’s mission and mediation, and by virtue of Pentecost, the agent also of the Christian community’s life of faithful obedience in correspondence to what Jesus accomplished in his mission into the far country. In contrast to a “Sanitized Savior of Suburbia,” the gospel proclaims a God who is with us (nobiscum) and for us (pro nobis) in Jesus Christ, who inaugurates the reign of peace, and who gives us the euangelion of shalom in our life of witness. The centerpiece of my reflections on Immanuel has been a close theological exegesis of Micah 4:1-4, which explored the themes of covenant, universality, political pacifism, logocentricism, forensicism, and eschatology. With that behind us now, I intend to complete this series by exploring the implications of a missional-eschatological theology of reconciliation for the eucharist and pneumatology. I will take up the former here and leave the latter for the next section.
Due to space limitations, I must confine my discussion of the eucharist to those areas germane to our theme. In the interest of full disclosure, I will advance the following thesis: the eucharist is a pentecostal event in which the covenantal community of the cross is propelled into the world in order to share the shalom of table-fellowship with the poor and oppressed as a sanctified foretaste of the messianic banquet. My exposition of this thesis will proceed under the following headings: (1) the eucharist and the Holy Spirit, (2) the eucharist and mission, (3) the eucharist and peace, and (4) the eucharist and the kingdom.