Communion meditation, January 11:

If you want to have a calm meal, don’t invite Jesus. Over and over in Luke’s gospel, Jesus uses mealtime to confront the Pharisees, to challenge their unforgiving Spirit, to castigate them for neglecting the weightier matters of the law, to charge them with killing prophets. When Jesus comes to dinner, He’s likely to make a lot of people uncomfortable.

Our pathologies and sin and sickness are revealed at the table, and when Jesus comes to eat with us He confronts us with those pathologies. We have used our tables as places for conflicts, accusations, acrimony. We use the table as a place where WE exercise judgment. Rev. Rich Bledsoe has pointed to the circularity of this behavior. We don’t want it to end, since accusing gives us the pleasure of superiority, and being accused allows us to wallow in our self-pity.

Bledsoe goes on, “one of the reasons that we avoid frequent celebration of the Lord’s Supper, is that it becomes an inspection that brings true judgment. These Lukan examples are wonderful illustrations of what happens when Jesus is invited to dinner. The jig is up. The pleasures of chronic destruction are over. The game playing of pretend judgment is over. True Judgment has just shown up, and it’s quite embarrassing. This is the other side of what happens at the Lord’s Table.”

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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