Sunday, May 2, 2010

Home for Dinner

This afternoon during Communion, I had the following thought: There are many activities a family does together and many things its members can point to as valued ways they share life together and love for one another. But what stands out to me is the family dinner. Everyone may be scattered during their rest of the day and evening in their own separate events and goings-on, but during this meal everyone comes together. It shows that whatever else the day may reveal, this moment says these people are a family, a home. The parents have prepared a meal for their children, a time to discuss the day, heal wounds and relieve burdens, mend discord, and share laughter and find delight in one another's company. Even when outsiders such as the children's schoolmates are invited over, it's special to be invited over for a real meal.

I thought of the Lord's Supper in this way. All of us at City Church (enter your congregation's name here) may interconnect and share fellowship and continued relationships in diverse ways throughout the week, but it's really for 90 minutes on Sunday afternoons that we recognize we're all members of the same family together, namely, God's. Discord and squabbles must be dealt with and put away. And like needy children, we eagerly await the delights our parents have worked to prepare for us not only for our nourishment and enjoyment, but also as a context for glad fellowship and time together with them. What good parent does not love to have his whole family together? So it must be with God our Father, our Abba. He loves his children and, in accordance with our ever-present needs, he dishes out not a tuna noodle casserole, but the flesh and blood of his very own Son, through whom we receive forgiveness of our sins and assurance of fellowship with him.

Perhaps this is why when the Prodigal Son returned home (see Jesus' parable in Luke 15), his father made no delay in preparing a rich feast. He hadn't been able to do so for so long, with an empty chair (or mat, in those days) leaving a gaping hole in their home. The meal was not only a celebration of the son's return. It was also an event made possible only because the whole family was back together again. So it will be when in heaven we feast with our Father forever.

How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights. (Psalm 36:7-8)

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