The Lord’s Table

The communion message I shared last week.

If you come to Adrian Christian Church on a regular basis, you’ve maybe noticed that the person up here talking about communion will say something about open communion, and I think that probably means something different to each of us. But mostly we say it because we want to put our guests at ease and let you know that you’re welcome to join us. At another church I used to attend, to let everyone know they were welcome, the officiant would say, “It’s the Lord’s table, not ours.” You may have noticed that I’ve borrowed that.

I wanted to talk a bit about what that means, “It’s the Lord’s table, not ours.” What kind of person is this lord? What kind of table does he keep? Who eats there?

We know about who is at the Lord’s table by who Jesus actually ate and drank with. He was famous, or infamous I guess, for the company he kept. He ate and drank with those you weren’t to spend time with–notorious sinners and tax collectors the bible says. Imagine someone who sins so much or so well that they are known as a notorious sinner. People called him a drunk and a glutton for spending time with these people. He sat out at the well drinking water with a woman so bad, besides being a Samaritan, that when his disciples showed up, they asked him what in the world he was doing. And one point his family goes to fetch him from someone’s house because he’s become such an embarrassment.

Even when he was just sitting down with his disciples, who was welcome at his table then? At least one tax collector, a bunch of fishermen, maybe one man who spent some time working for violent overthrow of Rome, and we don’t know what the rest did. No one here from the upper crust. And on the last night he spent time with them, here’s what he didn’t say. “Peter, you’re going to deny me three times, so we’re not friends anymore.” And after telling Judas that he knows that he will betray Jesus, he passes the bread and wine to all of them and says, “Eat, drink, all of you.” He doesn’t say, “Not you Judas, you’re not part of this any more.”

He wasn’t choosy about who he spent time with. Or perhaps he was. We don’t have any stories, I don’t think, of him telling the powerful and respected that he would be “coming to their house today.”

So, when I say, it’s not our table, but the lord’s, I just want to be clear, I don’t mean, go clean your life up, learn some bible, try to be respectable, and then come back. I mean, whatever kind of sinner or outcast or low-class embarrassment you might be; whatever rotten things you’ve said, or thought, or done to Jesus or those like him; as long as you’re willing to sit down with the rest of us, broken and messed up as we are, there is a place for you.

Amen

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