Sunday, March 27, 2011

On Being Supper Company

We were invited so long ago that to have a schedule conflict is inexcusable. I enter the door through misty, foggy rain, but my soul sings just to be in his house.

The table's been placed front and center, and I anticipate the routine. I like routine, the familiar comfort of knowing and doing. It's a tradition as comforting as favorite worn blue jeans.

But today, I feel lonely in the ritual. Even with the Holy Spirit resident within, I feel Jesus is too far off. His place at the head of the table is empty. Yet isn't this precisely why we eat and drink? This should not be my concern but my solace. And today, in the tradition, I want to break out. I want to sit across from my Christ. I want my fingertips to brush his palm when he passes the bread to me --  to me. I want to drink from the cup in his hand, and recline against his chest and commune. Really commune.

I think of the disciples: did they know they were making history? That this passover was the passover to end all passovers? Which of our observances of the Lord's supper will be the last? Will we know?

We eat. A pasty wafer melts stale on my tongue. I want to bite down, but can't seem to bring myself to it. I open my mouth, tip my chin skyward, and receive a small swallow, one sip of purple juice from a miniature plastic cup.  I stare blankly at the carpet just before me.

It doesn't feel holy today.

It feels empty.

I long for presence.

I want to really commune.

I do it in remembrance. He is the Bread of Life and the Never-Thirst-Again Water. And I want that communion: disciple communion, face to face, feet to feet, laughter to laughter, question to answer, smile to eye communion. I long to know him in this way. That is what I want to remember, not his missing place at the supper table.

My appetite for him is growing. One bit and one sip are not enough. I embrace what he gives; it is humble to receive. He is my sustenance, my portion. Give me this day my daily bread.

He inaugurated a new covenant, and I remember: I was once there at the cross when I first saw the light. And I do this in remembrance of Him who's not here, until he comes again for another meal, a Feast for all time.

There he will be.

Head of our father's table, the one abundant with bounty, he will host not a simple meal of bread and wine to commemorate death and sacrifice, but a lavish feast to celebrate life and communion. And we will, finally, really commune. Nothing will ever again be lacking.

It is the inauguration of the new covenant we remember, but the inauguration of a new heaven and a new earth we await. And today, I missed you, Lord Jesus. Even so, come quickly.

Easter Morning Communion, Sesaltul village, Guatemala, April 2010

I'm living out on Monday what I took in on Sunday. I want to always remember.
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