Monday, June 21, 2010

The Table of Reunion

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul says that in Christ all things are being reconciled. The Spirit has been poured out as the guarantee of this, the down payment of this reconciliation. Paul says that having the Spirit means that he and the other apostles are ambassadors for Christ pleading with all men to be reconciled to God. This table is the enactment of this word of reconciliation. At this table, God invites all of his people to eat together, to fellowship in the communion of the body and blood of Christ by the working of the Spirit. And it’s important to point out that the Passing of the Peace is not this sacrament of reconciliation. The Scriptures urge us to greet one another in the peace of the Lord, and the Church has wisely kept a custom of sharing that peace before coming to this table and it may be an important part of reconciliation, but the point is that this table is the act of reconciliation. Just as an engaged couple may hug or kiss before the wedding day, that does not mean they are married before the wedding ceremony. It is the ceremony that affects the marriage. Of course a ceremony doesn’t guarantee faithfulness; the Spirit is the guarantee. It’s possible to lie at this table. But that doesn’t change what this meal is. This meal is an act of communion, an act of fellowship. And in that sense, every week it is an act of re-union, renewed fellowship, reconciliation. This body was pierced for the reunion of all things in Christ; this blood was shed for the reconciliation of all men to God. You are eating reunion. You are drinking reconciliation. And for those who eat and drink reconciliation while harboring bitterness and unfaithfulness, this table is poison. But for those who in brokenness and weakness know that what they need most of all is forgiveness and healing and reunion, this meal is grace and healing and reconciliation. So come, eat and drink in faith, and rejoice in the goodness of God.

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