1 Corinthians 11:23-26, 1 John 4, Communion, Edward Taylor, Genesis 2, Genesis 3, incarnation, Isaiah, Isaiah 25, John 1, John 1:14, Lord's Supper, love, Marriage Feast, Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Matthew 25, Meditation, Poetry, Puritan, Puritan Poetry, Revelation 19, Self-Examination, Thankfulness, What Feast is This
What Feast is This?
Isaiah 25 is a poem of praise to God for reversing the power of sin and death. The power of wicked who use violence to crush the poor and powerless will be undone and also the power of death which animates the oppression will itself be destroyed (the poem is written in a “prophetic perfect” — that is, it represents a future state, but speaks of it in past time: it is a thing so sure as to be counted complete before it happens in time).
In place of death, God will raise a feast; rather than a funeral, there will be a marriage celebration:
6 On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. 7 And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. 9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
This image of a feast replacing death is used by Jesus to speak of the coming world (Matthew 8:11 & 25:1-13). The Bible ends with the invitation to a marriage feast (Revelation 19:9). Thus, the Bible opens (Genesis 2:24) and closes with a marriage. Death has intervened (Genesis 3), but God has overcome death in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Taylor takes this imagery of the feast in celebration of death being overcome and uses it to contemplate the Lord’s Supper (communion):
A Deity of Love incorporate
My Lord, lies in thy flesh, in dishes stable
Ten thousand times more rich than golden plate
In golden service on thy table,
To feast thy people with. What feast is this!
Where richest love lies cooked in e’ry dish?
Deity of love incorporate: The Son of God incarnate: John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. John 3:16, “For God so love the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
1 John 4:9-10: 9 “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Dishes stable/Where richest love lies cooked in e’ry dish: This is a reference to the communion service (the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper):
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
In short, Taylor sees himself before the Lord’s Table (another name for communion), where the feast is the Lord whose death overcomes death. By means this meditation, he is seeking to see “spiritually” (if you will) — to see the truth of thing, itself; and bring his heart to a state to relish it rightly.
Stable/table: The second lines contains 11 syllables, the fourth, 9.
My Lord, lies in thy flesh: the accent should fall on “lies” & “flesh” -“–`-`-`-