When I participate in Communion I don’t usually think about the inauguration of the new creation. With this being Easter week and today being Maundy Thursday, it is appropriate to think about the connection between the two.
Here is how G. K. Beale sees them as connected:
Like baptism, the Lord’s Supper (or Eucharist) evokes new-creational imagery. It was part of the weekly worship service in which Christians remembered Christ’s resurrection on the first day of the week, which, as we saw above, set in motion the end-time Sabbath rest intended for Adam in the first creation.
Christ’s Last Supper and the eucharistic meal of the early church were overtly linked to Israel’s Passover and thus to the exodus… Such an association makes it natural that each of the Synoptic accounts of the Last Supper includes a saying by Jesus with respect to the cup: “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29 (cf. Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18 [“”until the kingdom of God comes”]). This could be a figurative reference echoing the promised fruitfulness of the coming new creation, which would be formally inaugurated by the resurrection. This is further indicated by the reference that the drinking will take place at the time when “the kingdom comes,” a further installment of the inaugurated end-time kingdom. This saying of Jesus apparently began to be fulfilled during his resurrection appearances to his disciples.
Israel’s Passover meal was inextricably bound to the event of the Passover and reminded Israel of its exodus redemption, which pointed to the new creation. The equivalent NT meal, the Lord’s Supper, is the antitypical correspondence, fulfilling the type of Israel’s meal. Very closely connected to this Passover meal typology is Christ as the Passover lamb, who fulfills that to which Israel’s Passover lamb pointed. (New Testament Biblical Theology, 816-818, Paragraphs mine)
Let me try to summarize: When we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we proclaim the “Lord’s death until his comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Jesus’s resurrection is implicit in this statement, because otherwise he couldn’t come again. So Jesus had a certain kind of death. He died, but he also rose. Jesus, through his resurrection, inaugurated the new creation and we participate in the new creation through him (1 Corinthians 5:17).
Image: Nick Thomas