As an athlete, one of my favorite times was the few moments before a game. I loved the anticipation of getting ready – putting on the uniform just right, lacing up the shoes, sharing eye contact with a teammate communicating a sense of common purpose in nothing more than a nod. I loved getting ready with music playing. It was like I was in my own movie, and the song I chose was my soundtrack.
Today I go through a similar ritual before worship. I get myself ready. I breathe a little deeper. My adrenaline starts to flow. I sit in my office for a few moments, and sometimes I crank up the music. Often it is the same song: Come to the Feast, by Christopher Grundy (Grundy is professor at Eden Theological Seminary and a great musician. You should go to the link and listen to and buy his music).
“Come to the Feast” speaks to the heart of the gospel. “Come to the feast. There’s always room for one more and there’s all you can eat. Come and take some to go. Gather all you can hold and then go. Go spread the feast.” We are a people of the feast. We are a people of the Table.
At the heart of everything we do as Christians is the table of Jesus Christ. How we think about the table informs how we think about everything else. Where does the pastor stand? Behind the table in a gesture of welcome and inclusion, not with her back to the congregation.
What do we serve? Bread and grape juice as a sign of hospitality to those that cannot have alcohol.
Who is invited? Everyone. Children? Yes. They may not understand what is going, but then again, are we kidding ourselves if we think we do understand?
Unbaptized? Yes. The moment of communion is so powerful that it can be a moment of conversion and transformation.
Democrats and Republicans? Yes. We don’t bar you for voting a certain way.
Rich and Poor? Yes – and they each get the same amount.
Black and White? Yes, although we repent for times when this wasn’t true.
Gay and Straight? Yes, for God created all and said it is “good.”
The Lord’s Table is a table for all. On it holds the feast which has transformed lives. On it rests the bread that has been broken for us all. Jesus broke the bread and told us to “do this in remembrance of me.” It was not simply to remember that Jesus’ body was broken. It was remember that his body held life. When we break the bread we are to remember that Jesus was more than a sacrificial lamb led to the slaugher.
When we hear “Do this in remembrance of me,” we should hear Jesus saying: “When we got together in the home of tax collectors and sinners – Remember that. When the women came to me and broke free from their man-made roles of servitude – Remember that. When you guys tried to keep the children from getting to me, and I said ‘let them come’ – Remember that. When we sat in the crowd of 5,000 people and all we had were five loaves and two fish and you all thought there was no way that we would have enough, and then everyone ate – Remember that.”
“Remember when the Pharisees tried to use the Law to put up barriers between who is in and who is out – Remember that I broke those barriers as easily as I break this bread. When they used the Law to condemn and tried to trap me in legal issues – Remember when they asked me what was the greatest commandment, hoping that I would trip on my words – Remember what I told them?”
“And things aren’t looking good right now. The Romans and the leaders are coming. They are going to beat me and crucify me. After that happens I want you to remember me at this table saying to you, my body is broken for you. And when I come back, maybe then you will get it. Maybe then you will finally see. Maybe then you understand all the things I did and said and showed you. I break the bread so that you may have life.”
When we come to the Table of Christ we are invited to a feast. We are invited to a table of plenty. We are invited without merit. We are invited without deed. We are simply invited to come and be loved.
But when we are invited to come to the feast, it is imperative to remember that we are also sent. We are not invited to get full and go home fat and satisfied. We are invited to be fed so that we may feed. We are invited to forgiveness so that we may forgive. We are invited to be empowered so that we may go out and empower. So, as the words of the song so elegantly say, “Come and then go. Go spread the feast.”
“Come to the Feast” is (c) by Hand and Soil Music. Visit www.christophergrundy.com to listen to more music.