The prophecy of Isaiah looks forward to the Last Day and portrays eternity in heaven as a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
"On this mountain," God labors (God's self!) to prepare a sumptuous, Julia-Childs-worthy meal. God crawls to the back of the wine cellar to retrieve the best vintage wines, wines that have aged for years, perhaps in preparation for this very occasion (verse 6). On this same mountain where the china has been laid out and the wine glasses are sparkling, God will not only nurture and feed; God will destroy. God will destroy "the shroud" and "the sheet" that cover all people (verse 7). Turns out this a feast to commemorate God's defeat of nothing less than death itself.
The meal on Mt. Zion in Isaiah recalls the ritual meal taken on Mt. Sinai that served in part to ratify the covenant between God and the recently freed slaves from Egypt (Exodus 24:9-11). As in Isaiah's vision, that meal on Mt. Sinai also marked the people's transition from death to life, from slavery under Pharaoh to life with YHWH.
One of the post-communion collects refers to the Sacrament of the Altar as a foretaste of the feast to come. Indeed, it is a real partaking of the feast in heaven, with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, those who have gone before us and died in the faith. The only difference is, so long as we live on the earth, we have to return our daily lives, while the feast goes on eternally. Therefore, we continue in the collect, Keep us firm in the true faith throughout our pilgrimage that, on the day of His coming, we may, together with all Your saints, celebrate the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which has no end.
We are nearing the end of the Church Year. Our focus is on Christ who will return on the last great day as judge and king. Soon and very soon we shall see Him face to face. But our Lord is not absent from us. To the contrary He is always present in those places He has promise; in His Word, in His Supper, in the waters of Baptism, in His word of forgiveness. So continue to draw near to Him as He has promise to ever guard and guide you. He will sustain you along this journey of faith until He returns to receive you into His eternal dwelling place.
Gracious God, our heavenly Father, You have given us a foretaste of the feast to come in the Holy Supper of Your Son’s body and blood. Keep us firm in the true faith throughout our days of pilgrimage that, on the day of His coming, we may, together with all Your saints, celebrate the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which has no end; through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Image of Christ the Lamb who was slain copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things
Post Communion Collect from Divine Service Setting Two, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis