Brothers and Sisters, the exhortation to repentance is clear enough. Repenting is your duty and your life. This is why this is a table for repentant people. It is for those who find refuge in Jesus and who love to be near him and who make their paths straight, so He may come and dwell with them. This is not a table for the religiously proud , but for those who have found rest in the Messiah who came, comes, and will come again.
Christ is with us and He calls to eat his flesh and drink His blood as a memorial unto Him. We are reminding God in this mean that He has promised to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and He remembers. The King is calling: come, eat and drink repentant people of God.
What differentiates us from the beasts of the field? I would say one distinguishing feature is table manners. There is a certain etiquette at the table that we as baptized humans are expected to have that animals are not. Even our little ones are expected to develop their table manners. Our little ones move from a high chair to a table chair when they are able to eat without smearing tomato sauce in their hair. Learning table manners is part of learning the language of the body.
This table– though open to all baptized adults and infants– is not a buffet where you can grab and eat whatever you want whenever you want; this table is a civilized table. It is a table with manners. Here we eat and drink with other image-bearers. This means we are patient, gentle, kind, and loving toward our neighbor. The wine that spills from the shaky hands of our little ones is a sign that God is growing our congregation and teaching us table manners. This is our Lord’s table and Jesus loves to see little ones learning to eat and drink. We must be reminded this morning that in so many ways we are like them. Though our outward manners reveal stable hands when we grab our forks, inside we can at times be clumsy; overly confident; self-assured; pursuing selfish ambitions.
If you come to the table too certain of your table manners, then you might be the type of people that Paul constantly criticizes. But if you come to this table too certain of the Christ who died for you, then you come as those found worthy to eat with the Master of the house. And what is the basis of good table manners: Christ. Is Christ gain for you in life or in death, as it was for Paul? If he is, then prepare your lips to taste bread and wine, and prepare to share a meal with fellow brothers and sisters who are learning day by day what good table manners look like.
What we experience in this pluralistic culture is the death of objectivity. But in a world created by God and glorified by Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, we can say that this food is for us in an objective way; in a way that truly does accomplish its purpose. What does this meal do? It gives grace to those who eat and drink by faith, it encourages the broken-hearted, it offers hope to the doubter, and it strengthens the saint.
This is the objective reality given to us by an objective Christ; the only true Lord of history and the one who always provides for his children.
The God who is Three and One gives us Bread and Wine in the midst of the congregation. The Oneness of this local body is joined with the Many bodies worldwide forming the glorious body of Christ. We eat and drink as the one and the many.
As we eat and drink, remember our oneness in Christ, but also remember our diversity. We are not robots made the same way with the same personalities, rather we are image-bearers, or better, worshiping humanity, made differently, but one purpose: exalting the God who is One and Three and Three and One.
God is filling the world with his glory. And we are called to make this glory known in word and deed. We do not attempt to make this glory known through our own strength, but by the strength of another, The Holy Spirit. It is He that makes our works fruitful; it is He that transforms and it is He that makes us ambassadors of the most High God.
At this table, Jesus provides us another reminder that God is filling his world with his glory as we partake of bread and wine in this new world. When we eat Jesus is present by His Spirit, and by His Spirit He nourishes and sustains us in all our earthly endeavors. Eat, drink, and rejoice, for the Spirit of God is among us.
The Story of redemption is written only in the mind of God. We know the end of the story, but we do not know what is to transpire before that end. In the same manner, our stories are not fully written. Everything we are going through is part of God’s writing process. And God is not only a good writer, but a perfect director. Nothing in our lives catch God by surprise. Our doubts, concerns, and pain are not what define us, but rather trust, hope, and comfort define us.
At this table, God is providing that for us. If you eat and drink trusting in God and believing that he is writing our stories with His good in mind, then we can begin to find relief in our narratives. This meal is a means of grace for us, and is part of the way God writes our story.
The promises of the Gospel fill us with joy this morning. It is a tasteful reminder that our Shepherd does not leave us in want. He prepares for us a table in the presence of our enemies, because food is the way He brings the world to Himself. Jesus is the bread of life who descended from heaven, was crushed, and rose again as a full loaf to the world. He is wine who descended to bring abundant joy to the world, was poured, but raised as renewed wine to bless the nations. This is our table: it is for the weak, hungry, doubting, and thirsting. Come and eat and drink and be renewed in Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
The stone given for the sake of the world was despised and rejected. But that stone is that without which nothing can be built: no kingdom, no priesthood, and no life. Jesus is the true stone. He is the foundation of every lasting temple. We, as new temples, created in Christ Jesus, dare not reject this stone. Christ is the foundational piece of our lives. Without His sustaining us, we would be broken into pieces.
Indeed, we were at one time broken, but Christ has put us back together again; He has re-structured our spiritual anatomy and made us whole to partake of this meal.
For those redeemed by the Word of Yahweh and brought into covenant with Him through their baptisms, this table offers no gloom; in Christ you have light, which means full joy and participation in the activities of the light. The wicked have their meals in darkness, but the godly eat in the presence of the True Light who communes with us in this meal.
Even during the Lenten Season, we are at this table. The table is always here for us because we know that the story does not end on a tree, but in an empty tomb. We do not eat in sadness, but in joy, for we have been rescued from the dark exile of sin into the glorious and bright kingdom of our beloved Savior.
By God’s grace, we have a place at the Father’s Table, for He has washed us in baptism and welcomed us with a feast!
The topic of food is one that comes up quite often in this season of Lent. Providence Church believes fasting is biblical, but we have not issued a fast for the Church. So we have not approved any any practice over another. Individual practices or the lack thereof are left to the discretion of the individual family during the week. Rather, as a Church, we focus on the worship observance of Lent in preaching, singing, and colors. We don’t want any Lenten food factions; no eating of a particular brand or a particular type of food will give you any greater special grace in God’s sight. Similarly, no giving up of a particular food or habit will get you closer to God unless it is grounded in the act of repentance and good works towards God and man.
In this Lenten Season I want you to remember that “Christians have only one food law: Take, eat; this is my body. Only one food unites us, the bread and wine of the Lord’s table.”
We can have all the diversity on our nutritional choices, but at this table there should be no division or doubt that this is God’s food for us.
 Leithart, http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/leithart/2013/02/24/exhortation-128/