Jeremy Begbie, reflecting on the Eucharist from the perspective of music, considers how the Lord's Supper stabilises and destabilises.
The repetition of the Eucharist stabilises. Here God regularly re-calls the Christian community to know again the transforming power of the cross - here the Church's generative and inexhaustible theme is heard and sung again, here 'the Lord's death is proclaimed' (1 Cor. 11.26). At every Eucharist, in being opened to Christ by the Spirit, we are opened to his past, bearing upon us. However, the very same eucharistic repetition also destabilises. To be opened out repeatedly to Christ's past is to be opened out to a future anticipated in him, and thus to experience a re-charing of God's promise of a new future. It is to be incorporated into a forward momentum of the Spirit which activities in us an increased longing - 'until he comes.' To speak of stabilising and destabilising here is not to speak of a dialectic of opposites set against each other, or of successive phases of a process (as if we first 'look back' and then 'look forward'); in music, the accumulated tension at an upper level is generated by the repeated 'return' to the lower level(s). Repeated stabilising gives rise to instability. To be regularly re-bound to Christ who was crucified and raised from the dead is to be drawn into a stronger hope for the world.
I have used the word 'destabilise' here primarily because of the way in which this aspect of the Eucharist is to be felt by the Church. Repeated eucharistic celebration will of course provide consolation, a rooting again in the forgiveness forged at the cross. But because it settles us in Christ crucified and risen, in whom the new humanity of the future has been given in our midst, the Eucharist will provoke unsettledness, in ourselves and in relation to our surrounding reality, an acute sense that we have not yet reach out 'rest' (Heb. 4).
Jeremy Begbie, Theology, Music and Time (Cambridge, 2000), p.167.