You've successfully subscribed to With Christ on the Mountain Top
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to With Christ on the Mountain Top
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.

Sunday Worship 2 August - The Table

. 6 min read


Serving the Lord’s Table … provide your own bread and grape juice or best available substitute!

The Table                    
2
Aug 2020, Christ Mountain Top, Online, during COVID-19
Praying
the Scripture, Isaiah 55.1-7
Kids,
Genesis 32.22-31
Message,
Matthew 14.13-21
The
Lord’s Table

·      
Tell the story of your favorite feast. What unexpected gift
did you experience?
·      
When and why have you been moved with compassion?
·      
Think of a time when you felt lonely or left out, and then
someone did something that made you feel welcome and included. Share your story
and how that impacts your life.
·      
How has the Table of the Lord helped you encounter Jesus? Changed
your life?

This
week’s theme:
Thirty
years ago, when Robin and I got married, we had no money. Our families didn’t
have much either. I had just finished working my way through college (and Robin
helped pay the final bills with her nursing income). She had been working her
way through seminary. So, what did we do when it came to our wedding reception?
It was covered dish, of course! We bought a couple platters of lunchmeat and
cheese, a bunch of Martin’s potato rolls, and some veggie trays. The wedding
was part of the Sunday worship service, complete with lots of singing and
sharing in the Lord’s Table. Folks went through the receiving line, down to the
church basement, and began to eat. By the time we got down, last in line, the
pickings were a bit sparse. I think someone even ran out to get some more
lunchmeat. But it was fun! Family in from out of town didn’t have to cook.
People we never invited were there for the worship service and discovered they
were welcomed to a feast. At the feast, my cousin’s boyfriend asked me to get
her to say “Yes.” No, he didn’t make the proposal then, but they’re still
married today. At the wedding feast, one of Robin’s girlfriends discovered that
she was missing Jesus in her life.
Feasts
are powerful moments. All the more so the Jesus feast. It was around the Table
of the Lord that my father decided that he would receive Jesus and allow Jesus
to change his life. Most of today’s Scripture is around the feast and the
invitation to the feast of the kingdom. There is one outlier, a text about a wrestling
match. We’ll get to that in a bit.

But, as Joan plays the
prelude, I invite you to remember the best feasts in your life. In my
experience, those great feasts included outsiders on the guest list. In my experience,
those great feasts have Jesus as the host. Indeed, today, he is the one making
an invitation to you: Pull up a chair or sit down on the picnic blanket and eat
with me.


Message
There’s
lots here in this text.
       We could talk about the resource issue: “You
give them something to eat.” It is amazing the way Jesus can multiply resources
when we put them in his hands, when we let him “take them,” to use the first
verb describing what Jesus does with the five loaves and two fish.
       We could talk about the way the text
describes a theology of the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. The verbs used in
the story – take, bless, break, give – are the same verbs used in the story of
the Lord’s Table later in the gospel. So, this text becomes an appropriate
meditation on the power and gift of the Lord’s Table.
       We could talk about authentic Christian
spirituality. Henri Nouwen, a Catholic priest, wrote a whole book applying this
story, and the verbs involved, to the spiritual life. What does it mean for you
to be “taken” by the hands of Jesus? What does it mean for you to be “blessed”
by the hands of Jesus? What does it mean for you to be “broken,” to be “given”?
       There’s lots here in this text.
What
I want to talk about this morning is compassion. Jesus’ motivation for
inviting the crowd to his table is compassion. Several times in Matthew’s
gospel, Jesus is described as having compassion on the crowds:
·       Here
in this passage: He saw the large crowd and had compassion on them and healed
their sick.
[1]
·       “I
have compassion on the crowd, because they have remained with me three days
already and do not have anything to eat, and I do not want to send them away
hungry lest they give out on the way.”
[2]
·       And
having compassion, Jesus touched their eyes, and immediately they received their sight and followed him.
[3]
·       And
in the passage with which we began these messages: And when he* saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they
were weary and dejected, like sheep that did not have a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his
disciples, “The harvest is plentiful,
but the workers are few. 38 Therefore ask the
Lord of the harvest that he send out workers into his harvest.”
[4]
Eleanor
Rigby
Picks
up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives
in a dream
Waits
at the window
Wearing
the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who
is it for?
All
the lonely people
Where
do they all come from?
All
the lonely people
Where
do they all belong?
       The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby,” Yellow
Submarine
That
would be Jacob. His whole life has been one of conflict. Eat or be eaten. Win
or lose. He stole his brother’s blessing, a special gift that is to be given by
the father. While he got the blessing, it didn’t come as a gift. Despite having
a family, he was alone in the world. And God came to him. I think God likes
people with rough edges, people who don’t fit in, people who are alone in the
world.
       Jesus certainly seemed to pursue folks
who were struggling, not folks who had it all together. Jesus passed by the
good folks and looked for the sick, the blind, the hungry, the harassed and
helpless, the weary and dejected, the lonely.
Once
as a pastor, I had a wedding canceled at the last minute, in that case by the
groom. It is a crushing thing to experience. You expect to give yourself to a person
you love, you expect to receive them in return, only to find yourself left
alone. I read about another young woman who was left at the altar. Her family
decided that they would have the reception anyway, and they chose to invite the
homeless. That’s a wedding feast of which Jesus would be proud.
In
fact, the end of history is described as a wedding feast. Repeatedly in his
parables, Jesus talks about the kingdom as a feast. In John’s vision of the end
of history in the heart of God, we read, “Blessed are those who are invited to the banquet of the wedding celebration
of the Lamb!”[5]
In that vision, John hears Jesus at the doors of our lives, “Behold, I stand at
the door and knock! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, indeed I will
come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.”[6]
All
the lonely people
Where
do they all come from?
All
the lonely people
Where
do they all belong?

Answer: They belong at the
Table of the Lord. That’s where we all belong.



[1]
Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer,
J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English
Bible
(Mt 14:14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[2]
Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer,
J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English
Bible
(Mt 15:32). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[3]
Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer,
J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English
Bible
(Mt 20:34). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[4]
Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer,
J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English
Bible
(Mt 9:36–38). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[5]
Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer,
J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English
Bible
(Re 19:9). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[6]
Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer,
J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English
Bible
(Re 3:20). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.