In my first two posts, I looked at the ways in which introverts can model the life of the Trinity. In the first post, I looked at how the introvert has an ontological connection with the Trinity that transcends personality types. In the second post, I looked at the ways that introverts model the life of God. In this last post, I want to look at the way in which the Eucharist serves as a visible reminder of our participation in the life of God. It both reminds us of our place in the life of God and then models how we offer ourselves to him in the future.
Israel is facing a crisis at the end of the book of Exodus. Most of us have already checked out of the book chapters prior, being too bored to read the specifications that Yahweh has for the tabernacle. But in that, we miss some important information that shapes our understanding of the levitical system. When Exodus closes, the author notes that even Moses was not allowed near into the Tent of Meeting. All of humanity, no matter if they are Moses, the one who reigned over the tribes, or a peasant, all were excluded from the presence of the Lord.
In light of this, Leviticus opens with really, really good news! Yahweh is preparing a way for mankind to come into contact with himself through the sacrificial system. Though humans, thoroughly imbued in the flesh with sin and death, could not approach God, unblemished animals could. The offerer would lay hands upon the animal, letting the animal represent them before the Lord. The priest would then cut the animal into pieces and distribute those pieces over the altar. Afterwards, he would spread the blood of the animal to purify the altar and the offerer.
Two new steps would follow afterwards, one step for the humans and another for the animal. The animal would be turned to smoke, and that smoke would rise to the nose of Yahweh, who would accept it as a sweet-smelling sacrifice. (This is similar, but very different, from other ANE sacrificial rites, wherein the sacrifice was considered as the gods’ food.) The humans would then share the cooked meat before the face of Yahweh.
The Eucharist is similar to this. Jesus, who is both our High Priest and the offering itself, has been offered on the sacrifice before the Lord. He then ascended to the Father in the Spirit, now sitting at his right hand making intercession for us. In the Eucharist, we celebrate this sacrifice by sharing in a meal before the Father with our High Priest. We do not recreate or re-do the offering, instead we follow in that crucial second step offered above.
And in the taking of the Eucharist, we are brought into the same cycle. With Jesus as our High Priest, we are to bring ourselves as living sacrifices before the Lord. Paul in Romans describes this by saying that our worship is our sacrifice. Augustine says that anything we do in order to get closer to the Lord is our sacrifice. I think we worry that we either don’t do enough to be a part of worship or we might feel to anti-social to be part of that worship. Thankfully, this reminds us that we don’t offer personality types, but ourselves, to the Lord.
And what of that second step, where we share in the meal? This goes back to the Eucharist before, reminding us that we share in the life of Christ and proclaim his death until he comes each time we take the meal.