The Sacrament of Holy Qurbana: The Table of the Lord
St. Andrews MTC, NY
16 The cup of
blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread
that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?
It was a sunny, yet cool and pleasant day in this small
desert Israeli village
when Kushi opened up the door to his home and invited us in. The strong and
somewhat overwhelming aroma of
morning coffee immediately brought our senses to high alert. Our eyes were
bombarded by colors of the most vibrant nature, flowing from the beautiful rug
to the tapestry that lined the walls to the pillows that were arranged on the
floor. We took our seats on those beautiful pillows, with reluctance, as they
seemed far too lavish for our rears to rest upon. That morning we had a
wonderful time eating snacks and sipping strong Arabian coffee in this
beautiful tent, speaking what little Arabic and Hebrew we knew. It was a
first-time for all of us, in the home of a man we only knew for a few days, in
a village that looked like it was straight out of the movies - but we felt
right at home. Kushi was our driver for the one month that our group from New
York did a study abroad trip to Israel
in 2009. He is a Bedouin, living in a house tent with his family. Kushi invited us to his table and it was a most memorable experience.
Paul writes these few verses of 1 Corinthians 10 within the context of warning the people to flee idolatry. This started in chapter 8, where he begins addressing the issue of what the Church at Corinth should practice with regards to meat sacrificed to idols. The Corinthians were a people who liked to eat and feast. Yet they would do so regardless of whose table they were sitting at, and ignorant towards the sacrificial nature of the food they so joyfully ate. Thinking that they were strong enough to enjoy the food and good times without compromising their faith and worship, they ventured too close to the fire.
Similar to the Israelites who sat, ate, and danced before the golden calf, the Corinthians fell into an idolatry of their own. David Guzik says it well:
"Some of the Corinthian Christians were not only getting too close in their association with idols, they were also making an idol out of their own 'knowledge' and their own 'rights'."
And so,as much of history goes, the question then becomes--years from now will Christians of that day say the same about us? For us it may not be a golden calf or the meat sacrificed to idols, but there is something, and in this fast-paced instant-everything world we live in, probably many things that take our allegiance away from the
Lord. Do we find ourselves in places and situations telling ourselves that "it's okay, I'm strong enough" or "I know my boundaries even if others don't", legitimizing that practice or indulgence as innocent fun when in reality it has replaced the unhindered submission to holiness that God seeks. Or we end up idolizing our own strength and faith, to a point where we are hardened to how this may cause a brother or sister to stumble in their own faith journey. Sadly I find myself in such a place more than I'd like. I thank Jesus for the grace that was freely offered to cover my weakness and for the power of His Spirit to discern when something has the potential to become an idol - I thank Him for inviting me to the table.Kushi invited me and my group to dine at his table. We ate of the "same loaf", drank of the"same cup" and were forever united by that one meal. It was a gesture of kindness and fellowship that conveyed the following message: "we have no differences and all is forgiven when you come and sit at my table." The Corinthians ate at the table of gods that were direct rivals of the one Triune God. Intended or not, this sent the message that they were in agreement with what those powerless, man-made images stood for. We serve a God who is jealous for His glory, a God who wants our complete worship and unrivaled honor. This is why He invites us to His table. It's a table that affords us all the privileges, blessings, trials, struggles, pains, and eternal joy that comes with being a son or daughter of the King. We drink of the cup and we eat of the bread, saying to Him and to those who eat alongside us, that we are His, that He alone is worthy, that we fully understand the price it cost Him for us to freely dine at His table. He invites us to this communion table daily, and then as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup together as one body, we proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.
Prayer: Lord we thank you for the gracious invitation to dine at Your table daily. Give us strength and power to keep away from any idol that tries to take our worship away from You. Amen
Thought for the day: It cost God everything to give us a free seat at His table.