I Corinthians 11.26 (RSV)
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
Every Sunday, there is an opportunity to gather around the Lord’s Table. This is really central to what I think about God. God is a God of invitation. God is a God of place setting. It is at the Table of the Lord that we find our belonging. At this same Table our belief in Jesus is strengthened. The Table reminds us that our behavior is shaped by the always loving God.
At LPCC, we practice various ways of Table fellowship. If it is at the 9:00AM Chapel service, we have a brief meditation, the words of institution, prayer for the bread and the cup, and the invitation for all to come forward to rip off a piece of the bread and dip it into the cup. At the 10:45AM worship on the first Sunday of the month, similar things happen. A brief meditation, the word of institution for the bread and then an elder prays. Then the words of institution continue for the cup and another elder prays. Then the trays are passed out by an attending elder. We hold our bread and cup until everyone is served and then we eat together ending with a prayer of thanksgiving. On other Sundays after the postlude we meditate, institute, pray, and share.
Not all of these practices are exactly the same. There is fluidity to them. Yet the invitation is the same…come…all are invited! The Table highlights that we are a movement that seeks belonging for all as found in Jesus Christ. This invitation is extravagant, maybe even reckless, but I am sure glad it is extended even to us all!
During Lent, as part of your spiritual practice, come and feast on God’s extravagant love together. The Table is waiting…
Excerpt from Matthew 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted…
Lent is a season that lasts for 40 days (not counting Sundays). Lent, patterned to some degree after Jesus’ journey in the wilderness, has us following in Jesus' way of facing how we understand needs over wants, power over servant hood, and self-reliance over God-reliance. All hard questions into themselves…
As we recall Jesus’ wilderness temptations, we find ourselves walking with Jesus through thick and thin, through weariness and hunger of body and spirit. Though we know the final outcome of Easter, we better understand the significance of the cross and its life altering ways because we stayed with Jesus as he journeyed through it all. The invitation to us, in this season, is to reflect on how our lives are affected by our belief, trust, and faith in Jesus Christ.
In Lent, we are invited to repent, reconcile, and return to God in all things. We are gently invited to recognize the times we have forgotten or grown numb to God’s call on our lives. It takes us taking a step back and looking honestly at our own lives and recognizing the temptations that we have succumbed to. It is not easy, it is not fun, it’s definitely not glamorous, but it is life changing. As with much of life, the things that we long to be changed within us, even spiritually, must first be recognized, named, and then diligently worked on with the help of God.
In this season of Lent, we are going to be paying attention to two words: fast and feast. We will be paying special attention to our inner lives, our spiritual selves and asking ourselves what things in my life do I long to fast from (those things that are life draining) and what things might it be good for me to feast on (those things that bring abundant life for all)?
Philippians 1.9-11 (Common English Bible)
This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.
What captures your attention? What takes over your hearts? What engulfs your imaginations? Could it be food, literature, certain relationships, or works of art? Or moving to our shared church life and lives of faith? Is it fellowship, worship, learning, or outreach? If you are like me, I bet all of these have at one time or another.
These things that capture our attention are the things that make us feel most alive. The tricky part about this is we sometime feel obligated to have to do them all. What if we made it a priority to prioritize what helps us feel most alive as God’s children? What if we took the time necessary to identify a few things that help us feel closer to God and one another? And once we have named the one or two, what are the steps we can take to cultivate them through deliberate and specific action.
When everything is a priority, then nothing is. Sunday we will look at our priorities and hold the preverbal mirror up to ourselves not to shame, but to begin to notice our successes and struggles to begin moving towards the places we are most fully alive.
Grace and peace,
Husband, father, minister, child of God, follower of Jesus Christ writing in the context of La Porte Community Church