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Blessed Are the Hungry: Meditations on the Lord's Supper [Paperback]

By Peter J. Leithart (Author)
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Item description for Blessed Are the Hungry: Meditations on the Lord's Supper by Peter J. Leithart...

The Lord's Supper is the world in miniature; it has cosmic significance. Within it we find clues to the meaning of all creation and all history, to the nature of God and the nature of man, to the mystery of the world, which is Christ. It is not confined to the first day, for its power fills seven. Though the table stands at the center, its effects stretch out to the four corners of the earth. By all appearances, the sheep are hungry for the Bread of Life given in Word and Sacrament. Peter Leithart has given us fresh reason "to taste and see that the Lord is good." Michael Horton

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Canon Press
Pages   186
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.68" Width: 5.54" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 28, 2001
Publisher   Canon Press
ISBN  1885767730  
ISBN13  9781885767738  

Availability  0 units.

More About Peter J. Leithart

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Peter J. Leithart (PhD, University of Cambridge) is senior fellow of theology and literature at New St. Andrews College and pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho. He is the author of numerous books, including A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament, Against Christianity, and 1 & 2 Kings in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. He is also a contributing editor for Touchstone.

Peter J. Leithart currently resides in Moscow.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Blessed Are the Hungry: Meditations on the Lord's Supper?

Come Hungry to the Lord's Table  Nov 10, 2005
Wow! This book was good. It was intended to be read as a meditation before each of the Lord's Suppers celebrated in the church; however, I couldn't put it down.

The purpose of the book is to eventually show how the celebration of the Lord's Supper leads to eschatological renewal and subsequently, the transformation of culture. This is the Epilogue of the book. The chapter (each about five pages or so) build up to this theme.

Following Frame and Poythress's multi-perspectival approach to the Eucharist. It is impossible to exhaust the meaning of the Supper in one proposition. Leithart doesn't mention this explicitly, but the point is there nonetheless. This is a crucial point to make. Without it, the book fails in its purpose.

Leithart examines the many facets of the Supper in biblical history, starting with Adam and ending in The New Jerusalem. Leithart looks for the feasting theme in Scripture (Adam delighting and communing with God in Paradise--The Second Adam inagurating the Feast that will bring about the New Paradise. Daniel and his friends refuse the King's food and so reconstitute the New Israel who will return from Captivity. The disciples eat the Supper as symbolic of the massive forgiveness that is about to come to the world via cross and resurrection; this forgiveness entailing the reversal of the Curse of the First Adam. In taking the Feast the disciples become the New Israel.).

As an example of Leithart's excellent writing, consider the value of being drunk with Yahweh's wine:

Zechariah 9:15, "The Lord of hosts will protect them,
and they shall devour, and tread down the sling stones,
and they shall drink and roar as if drunk with wine,
and be full like a bowl,
drenched like the corners of the altar.

"But the passage pictures Israel drunk with another kind of wine: filled with the wine of Yahweh's Spirit, Israel would be bold, wild, untamed, boisterous in battle. This suggests one dimension of the symbolism of wine in the Lord's Supper: it loosens our inhibitions so that we wil fight the Lord's battles in a kind of drunken frenzy. If this sounds impious, how much more Psalm 78:65, where the Divine Warrior himself is described as a mighty man overcome with wine? Yahweh fights like Samson, but far more ferociously than Samson: He fights like a drunken Samson!"

Exciting as this may be, we must face up to one aspect of the biblical witness. This is where Perspectivalism saves the day. 1 Corinthians 11 warns against treating the Lord's Supper casually, yet throughout the Old Testament (and hints in the New) we are to delight in the Lord through feasting. So, what gives? I will try to reconcile it in one statement (irony, I know. I previously warned against doing this):

We are to be contrite over our sins but at the same time we are to rejoice that our sins are forgiven and the New Age--the Messianic Age, the Age to Come--has broken into the present evil age. Christ is becoming King over the World! Yes, from one perspective we are to mourn over our sins but at the same time, we are to take heart that our sins are forgiven. Weeping may tarry the night, but joy comes in the morning!
start salivating  Jul 30, 2003
Let's say that you ran into a group of people who had formed a club dedicated to reading and publishing stories about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Then let's say you asked how you would join a member and you were told that if you joined you would have to dedicate yourself to living like a noble person being brave and chivalrous, etc. Furthermore, they insisted on describing the good deeds you would do in this club in terms such as "jousting" and "dragon-slaying."

Now, if you joined that club, and the ceremony involved someone in charge touching your shoulder with a sword, just like men used to become knights in the Middle Ages, you would understand exactly what is going on. Somehow this group is viewing itself as a continuation of the Knights of the Round Table. You would be joining by being "knighted." The ceremony would have meaning from the stories and by means of the ceremony you would be making your own story a continuation of those stories.

Peter Leithart has written the best possible book on Eucharistic theology by refusing to write a book on Eucharistic theology (well, except for the closing essay, "The Way Things Really Ought to Be: Eucharist, Eschatology, and Culture," which is quite good in it's own right). Instead, he has written expositions of the stories in the Bible that involve the centrality of table fellowship with God. To read these sermonic expositions is to have one's "vision" (an overused metaphor according to Leithart) re-focused so that the familiar suddenly seems new. When you participate in the Lord's Supper, you are being fed the fruit of the Tree of Life, participating in the sacrifice of the altar as a priest, entering the land of milk and honey.... it goes on and on.

In other words, by reading this book you will be greatly helped in a process that is often disfigured in modern Evangelical life. Reading some of the many stories of the Bible that describe eating and drinking will immerse you in a new interpretation of what you are doing when you partake of the Lord's Supper. And, conversely, when you participate in the Lord's Supper, you will be continuing in what you have read so that it is reinforced for you as you embody what you have read. The Lord's Supper is truly the application, the sign and seal of the Gospel message. Peter's book shows how, by eating and drinking, you are continuing a culture that once involved Abraham eating and drinking with Melchizedek, Jesus starting a dinner club to which all sorts of undesirables were invited, and Paul publicly rebuking Peter for refusing to eat with uncircumcised Christians.

The final essay deserves special mention. Leithart argues that the emphasis on a "zoom lens" metaphor has deformed discussion of the Lord's Supper. By a "zoom lens" he refers to 1. an emphasis on the elements as "visible words" when the plain emphasis of the Bible is on eating and doing not on seeing, 2. a narrow focus on what happens "in" the elements, and 3. a narrow focus on what happens to an individual participant. Peter offers a "wide-angle" perspective that brings to our attention what happens in the congregation and to the congregation when they participate in the Lord's Supper. That essay alone is worth the price of the book. --Mark

Best little book I've read all year!!!  Oct 19, 2001
"Years ago I got into the habit of trying to read one book on the topic of the Lord's Supper as part of my preparation for Communion. Since the church I attended at the time only celebrated quarterly it wasn't too difficult to dig up titles on the subject. Anyway, in preparing for Communion I picked up Peter Leithart's 'Blessed are the hungry' which is mostly a collection of 3-5 page meditations. I give the book my highest recommendation. I would not hesitate to put it in the top 10 books I've ever read, not for its profundity, but for its perspective. You might not agree with everything he says, but I doubt that anyone could walk away from reading this little paperback book of meditations without having a perspective adjustment and a greater appreciation for God's revelation of Himself and the means of grace He has blessed."
Food for Thought  Jul 14, 2001
For those interested in the broader theological implications of the Lord's Supper, Blessed are the Hungry offers a feast of biblical insight. Leithart reminds us of the integral links between word and sacrament, kingdom and sacrament, and covenant and sacrament--links which have been largely ignored or denied among many evangelicals in the 20th and 21st centuries. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to reflect further on the Lord's Supper and the unity of Scripture.

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