At Renovatus we are in a series called Love Feast and we’ve been learning about what it means to respond to the invitation of Jesus to join Him at His table. That the invitation is unseasonal and irrevocable, that it comes without condition or hesitation. This past Sunday, Pastor specifically taught about what it means to receive from the table of Jesus in the sacrament of communion.
What is this meal that we share and why? How should we receive it? What is the point? What does the Lord want to say or do through it? (I will not attempt to answer all of these questions, but fortunately Pastor did and you can hear it here!)
More than a symbol or token gesture or tradition we keep, we take the Lord’s supper as a means to experience the presence and power of Jesus. We come to the table for wholeness, for help, for forgiveness, for hope, for rest, for healing. (After all, who has need to come to a table when you are satisfied and without hunger or thirst?)
It was a powerful song on a powerful morning amidst a painfully tough week for a lot of people I love. It seemed I was being confronted at every turn with sadness and difficult circumstances last week. Brothers and sisters walking by faith because if they were to walk by sight they wouldn’t be able to pull themselves out of bed in the morning. Brothers and sisters battling sickness, death, wounds in marriages and struggles in friendships, depression… the list was long and hurt was deep.
As I watched the congregation come forward and eat from the table, I was overcome. And while the sacrament of communion took on whole new meaning and life for me that morning, I was just as attuned to the broader idea of communing with Jesus- the hope and healing that comes with being in His presence and what it takes to get to Him. I thought a lot about my own life and how often I can’t bring myself to the Lord. How easily I can hide from Him. How He is the Bread of Life and yet I can get so stuck in shame- famished and desperate for the only One who can help me. The image was so clear- how He sits patiently and longingly at the table waiting to meet with me, to share with me, to help me.
And all of a sudden I became keenly aware of my need for my community to pick me up and bring me to the table (that is, the presence of Jesus) sometimes. What a grace! How long would I stay in that shame and guilt if they didn’t come for me? How long would I toil and wrestle and flail about if left alone? And let’s be honest, sometimes my pride or my guilt won’t even allow for me to ask for their help and I may even resent it before I get there. But at the table of Lord, in His presence, there is fullness of joy. There is salve for every wound.
I am grateful for brothers and sisters who get me to the table.
And in a week like this one, I get the chance to repay the favor to some of them. Those who are so broken and devastated and ashamed and scared to death right now, those who can barely hold their heads up- it’s my turn and such a humbling honor to carry them to the table. (Much like the account in Luke 5 of the paralytic being lowered through the roof by his friends to get to Jesus- sometimes you’re the paralytic and sometimes you get to be the friend! What a gift to be either, amen?!)
I suppose all I’m ultimately trying to say is this:
It doesn’t matter how you get to Jesus. Just get there. Get to the table.
And be grateful for whatever means it takes to be brought before the One who can fix you and any mess you’ve made.
Be grateful for the open invitation to the only table that will ever satisfy.
“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” Isaiah 55.2
For the love, get to the table, friend.