Monday, February 13, 2012

Coming to the Table Hungry

I ate three meals yesterday...but they weren't breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Mandy and I now attend an evening church service, so our Sundays have become much less stressful and significantly more enjoyable than they were when we were so busy at our previous church. As was the case yesterday, we generally sleep in, eat a late breakfast, and have some free time in the afternoon to rest or play before we head to church in the evening. In the course of spending the afternoon outside yesterday, enjoying the nice weather we have had of late, I somehow managed to totally bypass lunch. By the time the service was starting my stomach was growling with hunger.

There is something mysterious and powerful that happens when you come to the Communion Table literally hungry. I needed that bread. I longed for that cup. I yearned for the nourishment of the body and blood of Jesus. I have come to love the Eucharist over the past few years, but I normally think of this meal in merely metaphorical terms, as solely a form of spiritual sustenance. But coming to the altar last night in a state of physical hunger was a striking reminder of the physicality of Jesus. I was reminded that Jesus cares about our bodies and not just our souls. I was reminded that the Kingdom of God is about holistic health, about striving for wholeness in every aspect of our lives. If the communion meal is meant to be a meal of remembrance, it definitely lived up to its purpose for me last night.

In our world of intense individualism, especially in the church, I need to be constantly reminded that my spiritual nourishment is pointless if others are not being physically nourished. If I tend to my soul while neglecting my neighbor, I have missed the point of this beautiful, sacrificial meal. May these rhythmic, liturgical reminders continue to spur us on toward embodying the fullness of Christ in the world.

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