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He was always the guest.

He was always the guest.

In the homes of Peter and Jairus,

Martha and Mary, Joanna and Susanna,

he was always the guest.

Upsetting polite company,

befriending isolated people,

welcoming the stranger,

he was always the guest.

But here,

at this table,

he is the host.

Those who wish to serve him must first be served by him,

those who want to follow him must first be fed by him, those

who would wash his feet must first let him make them clean.

For this is the table where God intends us to be nourished;

this is the time when Christ can make us new.

So come, you who hunger and thirst

for a deeper faith,

for a better life,

for a fairer world.

Jesus Christ,

who has sat at our tables,

now invites us to be guests at his.

This prayer of invitation to the Lord’s Table is one of my favorites. This prayer is found in a resource called the Wee Worship Book. I love it because it reminds us of who Jesus was and who we are called to be. It is an open invitation to all, an open invitation to come taste and see that the Lord is good.

Beautiful words like these are the inspiration for the invitation that begins our practice of partaking of the Lord’s Supper. This meal, also sometimes called Communion or Eucharist, is

served about once a month here at Salem First Presbyterian Church. The practice and the

ritual have looked different over the years, passing trays piled high with bread, passing

trays filled with small glass or plastic cups with individual servings of juice. Over COVID, we, like many other churches, used small individually wrapped crackers and juice (except that one time the company accidentally sent us wine filled cups…that was an adventure.) Now we invite people to come forward receive a piece of gluten free bread, dip it in the cup, partake of the Holy Meal and return to their seats.

The practice has changed throughout the years, but the welcome from Christ has not. There have been times when the Church has gotten in the way or made mistakes, but the call from Christ, the witness of Christ, has always been that all belong, all are welcome at the table. Betrayers and loyalist, seasoned saints and baby Christians, all who step forward are welcome. This is what we mean when we say we are a full inclusion community. We have an open table that does not keep score, an open table that does not ask questions, an open table, that does not turn away. It is at this table that Christ reminds us of who we are and whose we are. We are the Children of God, the Beloved Creation, the Body of Christ, and we set this table hoping for all who approach it to find healing, to find welcome, to find themselves wrapped in the unconditional love and compassion of Jesus Christ.

Join us on the first Sunday of the month, join us at Night Church, join us on Maundy Thursday, join us on Christmas Eve, there is a place for you. If you know exactly what this bread and cup mean to you or if you’ve never even considered it. You are welcome, you belong.

Come taste and see the Lord IS good.

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