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Communion Meditations (2015)

The Whisper, Part III

Originally scheduled for February 8

At the table, He prepares for me a place.
He redeems me, I am pardoned by His grace.

He restores me with His rich and lavish love.
In His call, I hear the whisper of my name.

There is one thing I would call to your attention first. It is a simple stated fact, both in this song and in the Scripture, that you do not prepare your own meal at the table of the Lord. It is not a “do-it-yourself” project. Unless the Lord himself prepares the table, it will do you no good. You are the invited guest, not the caterer. For most Christians, however, the idea of preparing the table brings back the echoes of the 23rd Psalm. You will recall, however, that that Psalm deals with pasturing sheep. Sheep must be led. And it is a fact of life that if you are leading, then those whom you are leading are in your care; you must take provide for them. That’s just how Christ does it for us; indeed, the verb is “prepare.” Is there not in this a slight hint of the return of Christ? Is there a reason we take communion “until he comes?”

The table of the Lord is the place of redemption and part. In the ancient world, redemption would be understood someone along the terms of paying a ransom for an individual. Piracy was common in those days, and one of the main sources of income for the pirates was the ransom they would get for various individual citizens who were being detained. The person who paid that ransom was said to have redeemed you. In our time, a somewhat similar example might be taken from the common pawn shop. In your financial distress, you go down in hock Aunt Myrtle’s precious vase, hoping at a later date to come back with enough money to get it out of the pawn shop — and to do so early enough that it is still there. That’s what it’s like to be redeemed: our Lord got to the pawn shop in time with enough money. Or, to be more accurate, he came at just the right time to offer his blood and body for our redemption.

Pardon, on the other hand, is an act of sovereignty. You will notice that the president may pardon; the governor may pardon — but not the Congress or the legislature. It is by definition an act performed by the reigning head of the government. In the times of the apostles, this would be (for example) a Caesar. You could not earn it; nor did the governor have to cite any reason whatsoever for giving you a pardon. You and I have been pardoned by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. His love motivated him to do this; he does it by the authority inherent in being the creator.

This restoration is done indeed by his rich and lavish love. Have you ever notice the things that are done out of love are not parsimonious? And not just barely enough? They have that lavish air to them a one who wishes to make absolutely certain that you understand that you are loved. This, indeed, is to be imitated. How often? “Seven × seventy” as Christ told Peter. Indeed, the way that we love one another is the true mark of the disciples of Christ. This is the result of the Lord.

Christ calls you softly and tenderly, with the still, small voice. It is not an impersonal call; he knows your name. So come to his table with a repentant heart seeking to imitate the love of your Lord.

"Come to the table. Your name is written on My hand.
Come to the table. Your name is hidden in My heart.
Come to the table and live."


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