A few excerpts from N.T. Wright’s Simply Christian:
“The fulfillment of the Torah by the Spirit is one of the main themes underlying the spectacular description in Acts 2, or the day of Pentecost itself. To this day, Pentecost is observed in Judaism as the feast of the giving of the Law. First comes Passover, the day when the Israelites leave their Egyptian slavery behind for good. Off they go through the desert, and fifty days later they reach Mount Sinai. Moses goes up the mountain and comes down with the Law, the tablets of the covenant, God’s gift to his people of the way of life by which they will be able to demonstrate that they are really his people.
This is the picture we ought to have in mind as we read Acts 2. The previous Passover, Jesus had died and been raised, opening the way out of slavery, the way to forgiveness and a new start for the whole world — especially for all those who follow him. Now, fifty days later, Jesus has been taken into ‘heaven,’ into God’s dimension of reality; but, like Moses, he comes down again to ratify the renewed covenant and to provide the way of life, written not on stone but in human hearts, by which Jesus’s followers may gratefully demonstrate that they really are his people.” (132-133)
On reading Scripture in worship:
“Reading scripture in worship is, first and foremost, the central way of celebrating who God is and what he’s done.
Let me put it like this. The room I am sitting in at the moment has quite small windows. If I stand at the other side of the room, I can see only a little of what is outside — part of the house opposite, and a tiny bit of sky. But if I go up close to the window, I can see trees, fields, animals, the sea, the hills in the distance.
It sometimes feels as though two or three short biblical readings are rather like the windows seen from the other side of the room. We can’t see very much through them. But as we get to know the Bible better, we get close and closer to the windows (as it were), so that, without the windows having gotten any bigger, we can glimpse the entire sweep of the biblical countryside.” (150-151)
On the sacrament:
“Like the children of Israel still in the wilderness, tasting food which the spies had brought back from their secret trip to the Promised Land, in the bread-breaking we are tasting God’s new creation — the new creation whose prototype and origin is Jesus himself.” (154)
“…[T]here has been endless confusion over the relationship between the bread-breaking service and the sacrifice offered by Jesus on the cross. Catholics have usually said they were one and the same, to which Protestants have replied that Catholic interpretation looks like an attempt to repeat something which was done once and once only, and can never be done again. Protestants have usually said that the bread-breaking service is a different sacrifice to the one offered by Jesus — they see it as a “sacrifice of praise” offered by the worshippers — to which Catholics have responded that the Protestant interpretation looks like an attempt to add something to the already complete offering of Jesus, which (they say) becomes “sacramentally” present in the bread and the wine.” (156)