“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread….”
This is what God is like.
In the chaos of Holy Week, Jesus knowing full well his death was immanent sat down at a table with his friends and broke bread.
The Romans are afraid he might start a revolution. The religious authorities are afraid he will strip them of power and influence. One of his friends is in the process of betraying him. And yet we find Jesus taking time to sit down at a table with betrayers, deniers, and deserters to break bread.
This is what God is like.
The Last Supper is more than a famous meal. It is more than a ritual practiced monthly in brick and mortar churches. This meal reveals the very nature of God and the way his economy of salvation will work.
The one who is righteous and without sin will lovingly break his body and shed his blood for all who will take and eat of the bread and wine.
The table, the bread, and the cup become the avenue through which the church finds its identity. We read in Acts that the church gathered in homes regularly to break bread. This was not a mere potluck or Bible study. This act of sharing a table was a moment – an event – in which the followers of Jesus gathered and experienced the presence of Jesus in the breaking of bread and sharing of wine.
In some incomprehensible way, Jesus is present at the table when we break bread with one another. The Anglican tradition often refers to the table as the “mystery of communion.” We don’t understand it, but when we submit to the practice of table fellowship we are with Jesus as he transforms us into his likeness.
The cast of characters at The Last Supper cannot be ignored. His friends and followers will soon betray and leave him. And still Jesus eats with them. He still offers his body and blood for them. They still eat the bread and drink the wine.
Again, this is what God is like.
The table is open for all who will come. For the tired and the sick, guilty and ashamed, rich and poor, elderly and young, men and women – Jesus offers himself to all.
And so we find Jesus calling you and I to the table. He invites us to sit and eat with his people, his family. His body and blood are offered through the food and drink we share. At the table we taste of his grace again and again.
But it doesn’t end there. Just as Jesus welcomes all to the table, he calls us to open our tables for the lost and tired. He calls us to offer a place to call home and rest. Just as he opens his table to those who would betray him, he calls us to prepare a seat for our enemies. Not so we can prove we are right, but so we can offer reconciliation and our enemies and outcasts can become brothers and sisters.
May we continue to be a people of the table. As we gather in homes each week, may our tables be filled with laughter and love. May the space be filled grace and forgiveness. And may these tables be open to sinners and saints so all may taste of the body and blood of Jesus our Lord.