96

What Feast of Love

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

For the “food of everlasting life” (stanza 1) see John 6:27-58.
For the “light of truth” (stanza 2) see John 1:4-9 and 8:12.
For the “wine of everlasting life” (stanza 3) see John 6:53-58.

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This Christmas song sets in contrast the gift from heaven that is celebrated around the manger with the gift that is celebrated at the table—the reason for the newborn in the manger. The metaphors here of Christ as the bread from heaven and of the banquet from heaven (stanza 1) and the wine of love (stanza 3) are reminders of the Lord’s Supper which Christ instituted as a way of remembering him and of being nurtured with the food of everlasting life (stanza 1). The words “taste and see,” in stanzas 1 and 3, are reminders of the invitation of Christ in the upper room to “take…eat…drink...”
 
It is worth considering Belgic Confession, Article 35, as a reminder to recognize the “spiritual and heavenly bread…by which our life is sustained.”
 
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 29, Question and Answer 79 also brings to mind that these elements are the “true food and drink of our souls for eternal life.”
 
In stanza 1 of “What Feast of Love,” the “food of everlasting life” is a reference to the way in which Christ “nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 28, Question and Answer 75) and that “his crucified body and poured-out blood are the true food and drink of our souls for eternal life” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 28, Question and Answer 76).

Assurance

As followers of Jesus Christ,
living in this world—
which some seek to control,
and others view with despair—
we declare with joy and trust:
Our world belongs to God!
Our world, fallen into sin,
has lost its first goodness,
but God has not abandoned the work of his hands:
our Maker preserves this world, sending seasons, sun, and rain,
upholding all creatures, renewing the earth,
promising a Savior, guiding all things to their purpose.
Remembering the promise to reconcile the world to himself,
God joined our humanity in Jesus Christ—
the eternal Word made flesh.
He is the long-awaited Messiah,
one with us and one with God,
fully human and fully divine,
conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
Being both divine and human,
Jesus is the only mediator.
He alone paid the debt of our sin;
there is no other Savior.
Jesus Christ rules over all.
To follow the Lord is
to serve him wherever we are,
without fitting in,
light in the darkness,
salt in a spoiling world.
—from Our World Belongs to God, st. 1, 4, 23, 26, 43
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God;
we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
—Isaiah 25:6-9, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Emmanuel, God with us,
you are our heart’s delight.
Because of your amazing love,
you came to earth,
you became one of us,
you reached out to us while we were lost,
you rescued us from death,
you brought us salvation.
Your love is so high and wide and deep
that it, and only it, could reach this suffering world.
You came to bring an end to our sadness,
to dry our tears, to still our fears, to give us hope.
In deep gratitude we praise you.
We worship you for dwelling among us. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

You came in the fullness of time, O Savior,
emptying yourself for us.
Your incarnation foreshadowed, O Savior,
that you would be obedient unto death.
Therefore God has given you, O Savior,
a name that is above all names:
we confess you are Christ the Lord!
—based on Philippians 2:5-11
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

This prayer offers thanks for the work of Jesus Christ and may be included in the complete
Prayer of Thanksgiving as found in section 8.2 of this book.
This feast for which we gather remembers Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection.
This feast for which we gather proclaims the good news of forgiveness.
This feast for which we gather nourishes us with Jesus’ own life.
This feast for which we gather celebrates the sure hope we have of Jesus’ coming.
Come to the joyful feast of the Lord.
We serve a majestic God,
whose compassion moved him
to send his only Son
from heaven to earth.
This Son, born in a stable,
lived and worked among us.
He taught, he healed,
he served, and he loved.
This Son loved so much
that he died for us, rose for us, and lives for us.
He ascended to heaven,
where he is our mediator,
interceding with the Father on our behalf.
Before that he broke bread with his disciples
and simply said:
“Do this in remembrance of me.”
And he took a cup and drank and simply said:
“This is a new covenant.”
Therefore, in remembrance and in celebration,
we eat the bread and drink from the cup.
We proclaim our Lord’s death and life until he returns.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Tune Information

Name
GREENSLEEVES
Key
e minor or modal
Meter
8.7.8.7.6.8.6.7

Hymn Story/Background

Delores Dufner writes, when asked about this hymn:
 
Our liturgy planning team wanted a communion song which would tie the mystery of Christ’s presence for us in the Eucharist with Christ’s presence for us in the Incarnation. Because the tune GREENSLEEVES is associated with the Christmas hymn, “What Child Is This,” the tune seemed ideal for this purpose. 
— Delores Dufner

This text is associated with GREENSLEEVES, a beloved tune, named for the character about which the old folk song was written, Lady Green Sleeves. 
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Delores Dufner is a member of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota, with Master's Degrees in Liturgical Music and Liturgical Studies.  She is currently a member and a Fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, the National Pastoral Musicians (NPM), the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and the Monastic Worship Forum. 
 
Delores is a writer of liturgical, scripturally based hymn and song texts which have a broad ecumenical appeal and are contracted or licensed by 34 publishers in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and China.  She has received more than 50 commissions to write texts for special occasions or needs and has published over 200 hymns, many of which have several different musical settings and appear in several publications. She is the author of three hymn collections: Sing a New Church (1994, Oregon Catholic Press), The Glimmer of Glory in Song (2004, GIA Publications), and And Every Breath, a Song (2011, GIA Publications).     
 
Delores, the middle child of five, was born and raised on a farm in the Red River Valley of North Dakota.  She attended a one-room country school in which she learned to read music and play the tonette, later studying piano and organ.
 
Delores was a school music teacher, private piano and organ instructor, and parish organist/choir director for twelve years. She served as liturgy coordinator for her religious community of 775 members for six years and as Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota for fifteen years. She subsequently worked as a liturgical music consultant for the Diocese of Ballarat, Victoria in southeast Australia for fifteen months. At present, she is preparing a fourth hymn collection and assisting with liturgy planning and music leadership at the monastery. 
— Delores Dufner
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.