There is a profoundly important connection between the spiritual discipline of fasting and our celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Continue reading . . .
There is a profoundly important connection between the spiritual discipline of fasting and our celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a feasting that looks backward in time, whereas fasting is a feasting that looks forward in time. The breaking of bread and drinking the cup is done “in remembrance” of our Lord’s historic, and therefore past, act of sacrifice. Thus by eating and drinking we celebrate the finality and sufficiency of that atoning death and that glorious resurrection. We should never fast from the supper of the Lord, even when we are fasting from other ordinary “suppers”. On the other hand, as John Piper explains,
“by not eating—by fasting—we look to the future with an aching in our hearts saying: ‘Yes, he came. And yes, what he did for us is glorious. But precisely because of what we have seen and what we have tasted, we feel keenly his absence as well as his presence. . . . we can eat and even celebrate with feasting because he has come. But this we also know: he is not here the way he once was. . . . And his [physical] absence is painful. The sin and misery of the world is painful. . . . We long for him to come again and take up his throne and reign in our midst and vindicate his people and his truth and his glory” (A Hunger for God, 84).
When we sit at Christ’s table with other believers we gratefully, fearfully, joyfully feast upon that food and drink that remind us of what has happened. And when we, in a time of fasting, turn away from the table where otherwise daily meals are served we declare our deep yearning for what has not yet happened.