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Saturday, February 25, 2017

An Open Table



As I was driving to meet a friend for breakfast and coffee, earlier this week, I was going over some thoughts for a podcast recording about the Eucharist, in which I was about to participate (the recording is linked at the end of this post).  This passage kept rolling through my mind:

Proverbs 3:27-28, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor,Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’—when you already have it with you” (NIV).

Ironically, when I sat down at the coffee shop a little early, breakfast sandwich and mocha in hand, these very verses were part of the daily office.  You can’t make this stuff up.

This has me thinking about grace, and specifically about the grace God imparts when we join together, in community, to celebrate the Eucharist, remembering what Christ did for us and becoming the body and blood, ourselves—becoming the people of God—as we consume…  well, God…

My friend, Erin (actually, she’s who I was meeting, so the story grows in hyperbole and irony), who is a super great practicing Catholic who puts up with my sacramental Protestantism on a regular basis, describes the Eucharist in terms of the very real presence of Christ entering into our bodies (I love that!).  She was about to tell me how different my view was from that of Catholicism, recently, when I thought of the only real defense I had.

“My six year old daughter eats the bread and says, 'This tastes like God!’”

Please… oh please… oh please…  May we be Catholic enough to share this meal?

Erin laughed, rolled her eyes just a little bit, and said, “Well, OK…”

It’s funny, because as I was speaking about the Eucharist, during this interview, it was Miah who came to mind again.  She calls it “Community,” because she can’t quite get her mouth to cooperate with the term “Communion” (it might be all the missing teeth).  At any rate, there was a brief moment during which I wanted to correct her, but the truth is, she has it exactly right.  Sometimes kids are smarter than the rest of us. 

The Eucharist is Community.

It is the invitation to be and become a part of the people of God… to be and become a part of the Body of Christ…

And this invitation is for everyone.  How great is that?

Oh, wait.  It’s actually not so great if our tables are small and our pride comes from being a part of an exclusive club.  You know that part when, “Everyone is welcome here…” except the people who don’t do everything in the same ways we do… or think the same thoughts we think… or look like us?  Actually… if you want to be like Jesus… you have to get over that stuff…

Communion might be the best place.

Where else can you share such an intimate relationship with a diverse community of people?

We all eat the same bread and drink from the same cup.  We all become the same body and the same blood, which is really saying something if you think about the ways in which this concept eradicates discrimination.

We have this grace.  It is within our power to act… to share… to serve… 

L.

Listen to the Podcast at This Link

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