The tradition of the Sunday feast is a worthy one and accomplishes so much more than feeding us. It nurtures us, it nourishes our souls.
- John Besh
Meals bring people together.
Tell a bunch of college kids that there's FREE FOOD!! somewhere, and they'll show up to the event hungry.
Just about every American family gathers around a table each year for major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
For some, it's the only time the family is ever together. For most, there's a lot of effort by all to make it a big feast.
In our family, occasions like this become opportunities to welcome others who have no family nearby to come eat with us. Whatever these meals look like for you, the point is that meals gather.
The church in Corinth had a meal together too, but this meal was only for the privileged (1 Corinthians 11:17-34). The elite families in church gathered together to host private parties, while the impoverished Christians were excluded from the meal, celebration, and Lord's table.
One goes hungry...
The poor could not eat with the wealthy, and they could not break bread with their brothers and sisters. They were, in essence, barred from the table. And the rich were too busy and holy to care. What were they doing?
Oh yeah. Another gets drunk...
The church is full of hypocrisy. It was then. It is now. Whenever the church segregates or discriminates on any criteria other than faith alone in Christ alone, it participates in the pagan worship of Corinth more than it does in the Christian worship of Christ. Lord, have mercy.
The apostle Paul wrote to these elitist Christians and he called them out. God gave Christians this meal not to divide, but to unite. The Supper proclaims the Lord's death until he comes, and is a participation in the body and blood of Christ.
Christians are united to Jesus as our head, and to one another as his body. There is both union and communion. This is what the Supper declares. It is, at least in part, what the Supper means.
Rich and poor, female and male, Jew and Gentile, Black and White and Asian and Latino, the addict and someone who has always been drug-free—everyone comes begging for bread and wine at this table.
The main criteria for eating and drinking is not that we come as those who are worthy, but that we come knowing we are unworthy. No one comes full, all are hungry, naked, and needy. We are all beggars at best.
And the best part about participating in this meal is, no one who trusts in the God who provides us with this meal leaves empty. All are fed, clothed, and needed at the Lord's table. He gave himself for you so you could eat this meal. Taste and see that the Lord is good!
Take a minute, hit the pause button on your life, and listen to this brilliant song by Thrice:
"If there's one thing I know in this life, we are beggars all."
We are empty indeed.
Lord, have mercy.
We are hungry and thirsty.
Lord, have mercy.
We come to the Lord's Supper with empty hands, and he fills each palm with new gifts. The bread is broken. The wine is poured.
"Tase and see," he welcomes. "I am good," he assures.
The Lord's Table opens our eyes once again to the reality that grace is all free gift.
Given for you . . .
Broken for you . . .