A few weeks ago, we had communion at church. Actually, that morning I had the opportunity to lead the communion portion of the service, which had caused me to amp up my prayer life that weekend.
Communion is a very special reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. I wanted to share something encouraging with the church body. Not just a Holly-encouragement, but an encouragement straight from the Father. But by Sunday morning the skies hadn’t opened up with a message from Heaven. I honestly felt like I didn’t have anything to share and I was a bit discouraged.
On my way to church, I told God I was disappointed. “I want to encourage the people, Lord. I want them to hear from You.” I was being honest, too. I believe God still speaks to His people today, so why wasn’t He speaking to me now?
I’m not sure how you do communion at your church, but at my church there is a small wooden table that sits at the front of the sanctuary. On non-communion Sundays, a wooden tray holds a wooden goblet and some plastic bread and grapes. Toddlers especially like our communion table spread and will sometimes attempt to eat the faux food. If you look closely, the grapes have permanent teeth marks embedded in them.
On communion Sundays, the stand-in decorations are stashed and the table is arranged with stackable gold trays with small clear cups filled with grape juice surrounded by smaller gold trays filled with cubed yeast-free bread.
I stared at the table as we started worship. It’s nothing fancy and more practical than not. The bread. The juice. This simple wooden table that doesn’t look like much and yet gets to hold these elements that represent something so precious and so powerful. The bread representing the broken body of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was beaten beyond recognition and then exposed and hung on a rugged wooden cross. The body that carried my sin, my shame and everything that would separate me from a holy and glorious God. And the juice that represents the blood — that power-filled blood.
This was not a normal table. No, this table was a banqueting table. A table full of celebration for what Jesus had done!
If all of this wasn’t encouraging enough, God reminded me of Psalm 23:5: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
I smiled. OK, God. I get it. You had a word all along; I just had to wait for Your timing. I should have known that by now. It was as if He was saying, “This is more than a table of celebration, although it is that. It is a table of victory.” Yes! Victory. His broken body and His shed blood speak of His victory over death and sin and when we partake in it we also partake in the victory.
And we do it facing our enemy. We celebrate the fact that Jesus’ work on the cross is finished and, as much as the enemy may hate it, we have the victory. We don’t need to whimper or retreat in fear, but we can boldly sit down at our banqueting table and enjoy the party.
I know for many people, myself included, life can feel like a battle to the death. Each day we are faced with new circumstances to wade through and it can get weary. Sometimes it can even feel as if we are fighting this battle alone just trying to survive another day. I get it. I’ve got “Mondays” in my week, too.
The truth is God has already prepared a table for us before our enemies. He’s fought the battle and He has won, and in the most beautiful exchange He has given us the victory. The moments where you feel like you can’t make it one more step let alone one more day, sit down at His table.
Remember His body and His blood and partake in the celebration. Stare down the enemy and savor every bite.