I recently learned in my New Testament class that during the life of Jesus eating dinner at someone’s home was a way of forming a sort of covenant with that person for protection in exchange for loyalty. Learning this has fortified the symbolism of the symbols of the Sacrament as introduced during the Last Supper and as administered by Jesus to his disciples. Unlike the sort of protection and care that would have been traditional of the “dinner party” covenant, Christ offers us the opportunity to make a covenant with him that will be for our spiritual protection should we be faithful and loyal to his commandments.
We enter into this covenant at the time of authorized baptism and have the opportunity to renew this covenant each time we partake of the Sacrament. The prayers over the bread and water detail the terms and conditions of the covenant:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
We we act as the Apostle Peter did and forget the promises we have made, Christ promises forgiveness through his name and extends the blessings of the covenant again to us as we repent and recommit to the terms of the covenant.