Thanksgiving! About 55 million of us will travel more than 50 miles to spend time with our families. Tomorrow millions of Americans will pull up to a table with friends and family for the traditional Thanksgiving meal. My house will be full and for that I am thankful! When we sit down to feast there will be shared stories, catching up on news, being together.
I cherish memories of a tradition in our home, the family dinner. I’m told that dinnertime together is becoming extinct in America due to full schedules and multiple commitments. This, I think, is tragic. I believe that families grow stronger around a shared table. The regular time at the table without cell phones and television, that includes real conversations, lays a foundation for children who will get better grades in school, be less prone to get in trouble, and develop the relational skills that are so necessary in life. The real reward of that habit of sharing dinner will be during the turbulence of the teen years when table becomes a place that anchors the teen in his identity. It’s the time to talk, the reconnection that occurs at the table, that makes the difference. Curiously, if parents attempt to establish the habit in the teen years when it is needed most, they will almost certainly fail. The habit must be formed from the toddler years.
My friend, our Father invites us to a table regularly! We worship Him in many ways, but one that is central is the time of Communion, when we take the Cup and Bread, renewing our faith, connecting with our family, and sharing our godly heritage. Communion transcends denominational differences, bridges the gap between various Christian traditions.
Jesus invited His disciples to the Passover table and then made it part of our faith. “He took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-26, NLT) For two millennia, Christians have shared the Holy Meal.
Churches who fail to come to the Table miss out on the joy and worship that is found in this common element of worship. No one is greater or lesser at that Table. We are all recipients of the grace of God, our social differences no longer of concern. The Word exults in this unity. “You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-29, NIV) Yes, just as the family table helps to solidify the identity of those who gather around it, so we are strengthened in our understanding of who we are in Christ Jesus when we share in Holy Communion.
This holy fellowship of all Christians will find complete fulfillment at the Marriage Supper of heaven. God chooses the imagery of a celebratory meal to describe the eternal unity and love of the Church gathered in Heaven! “I heard the sound of massed choirs, the sound of a mighty cataract, the sound of strong thunder: Hallelujah! The Master reigns, our God, the Sovereign-Strong! Let us celebrate, let us rejoice, let us give him the glory! The Marriage of the Lamb has come; his Wife has made herself ready. She was given a bridal gown of bright and shining linen. The linen is the righteousness of the saints. The Angel said to me, “Write this: ‘Blessed are those invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.’ ” He added, “These are the true words of God!” (Revelation 19:6-9, The Message) What a dinner that will be! Can you imagine the stories that will told around that long, long table? Stories of triumph, stories of grace. I’ll be there. How about you?
Are you part of the family of God through faith in Christ Jesus? Pull up to the table and join the fellowship!
The word from the Word says “As they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God’s blessing on it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it and eat it, for this is my body.” And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which seals the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many.” (Matthew 26:26-28, NLT)
Jesus has a table spread
Where the saints of God are fed
He invites His chosen people
Come and dine
With His manna He doth feed
And supplies our ev’ry need
O ’tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time
Come and dine the Master calleth
Come and dine (O come and dine)
You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time
(O come and dine)
He who fed the multitude
Turned the water into wine
To the hungry calleth now
Come and dine
Soon the Lamb will take His bride
To be ever at His side
All the host of Heaven
Will assembled be
O ’twill be a glorious sight
All the saints in spotless white
And with Jesus they will feast eternally
Charles Brenton Widmeyer | S. H. Bolton
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