I heard a new song this week, “Come to the Table” by the Sidewalk Prophets. You can listen to it here. I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of a lot of “contemporary Christian” music. So much of it is either poorly written, had poor theology, or is just plain bad. I am not dismissing all of it, by I tend to approach much of it with skepticism. “Come to the Table” really spoke to me, though, and I felt it was especially fitting for Maundy Thursday, the day we remember the Last Supper.
“He said come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior now
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come meet this motley crew of misfits
These liars and these thiefs
There’s no one unwelcome here, no
So that sin and shame that you brought with you
You can leave it at the door
And let mercy draw you near”
These lyrics remind us that when we gather around Communion, it is Christ that invites us. Christ welcomes us. Christ welcomes all, nobody is unwelcome. We must remember that in the Gospels, Jesus broke bread with the disciples, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the pharisees. Jesus sat at the table with people from all walks of life. In fact, that was one of the criticisms of him by religious officials – he must be a glutton and a drunkard because of the company he kept.
The most powerful part of the song is:
“To the thief, to the doubter
To the hero and the coward
To the prisoner and the soldier
To the young, to the older
All who hunger, all who thirst
All the last, all the first
All the paupers and the princes
All who fail you’ve been forgiven
All who dream, all who suffer
All who loved and lost another
All the chained, all the free
All who follow, all who lead
Anyone who’s been let down
All the lost you have been found
All who’ve been labeled right or wrong
Everyone who hears this song”
We are reminded who was there at the Last Supper. Judas, who would betray Christ that night. Peter, who would deny Christ that night. Thomas, who would doubt Christ a few days later. As well as other disciples who would fall asleep in the garden or abandon him at the cross. The disciples all let Jesus down in one way or another, yet Jesus loved them, welcomed them, broke bread with them, and ultimately, died for them. That should give us great comfort, knowing that even when we let Jesus down, he still loves us, he still redeems us, he still welcomes us to the table.
As you remember the Last Supper today (or anytime you celebrate Communion), remember that Christ took the bread and declared it to be his body, broken for us. Remember he took the cup and said it represented the new covenant, sealed in his blood that was poured out for us. We remember that he invites all people to the table, even those that disappoint him, betray him, deny him or doubt him. We remember that he invites sinners and saints. We remember that he invited the “thief and the doubter, the hero and the coward…” We remember that he invited me and you.
John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”