Christ is in our midst!! He is and always will be!!
With your kind permission, let me see if I can answer your direct questions a bit.
In the Divine Liturgy and in the liturgies of all the Apostolic Churches, the reality of time, space, distance, and eternity come together and their separate categories become one. What God is accomplishing in human history--the bridging of the gap between His creation--us--is bridged by the Saving Sacrifice of His Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.
The life-giving set of events--the Last Supper wherein the Saving Sacrifice is accomplished in history by anticipation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Glorious Second Coming of Christ--that crown creation, that are the center of human history, that are the jewel of human life are made to be present to the believers in the Divine Liturgy. As if we were in a time machine, we are there. I have likened the Divine Liturgy to a door--a door that opens onto eternity and obliterates time so that we recline at the Last Supper, stay with the Mother of God and St. John at the foot of the Cross, tremble with the guards at the earthquake that opens the tomb, watch with the Apostles as Christ returns to the Father, and watch with joy as He comes again into our midst to nourish us with Himself, the greatest gift ever conceived.
Heaven, as a place and a state of being, is the state of perfect communion, of "coming into union," of that relationship established in Baptism that we wish to build and strengthen in this pilgrimage and to enjoy fully in the Kingdom. Speaking of Heaven as the Banquet of the Lamb goes into that intimacy of the relationship that God wishes to have with us: he "espouses" us; He wishes to have the kind of intimate relationship that spouses are to have in this life--of being "at-one" (like the dikiri: two flames able to be distinguished at their source burning together as one). That is the Divine embrace God wishes to hahve with us.
Banquet gives us the idea of nourishment and it is nourishment that we so much need as human beings, created to need God--as St. Augustine says, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee."
All the Apostolic Churches seek to draw the believers into these Mysteries by their liturgical expression. You might miss some of it in the English-speaking world since Vatican II because there are some liturgists who think that creating community is the primary reason for liturgy. Rome has issued instructions trying to correct this misunderstanding but so far it has had little effect.
Last edited by theophan; 10/10/08 01:36 AM. Reason: spelling