This past Sunday was World Communion Sunday. World Communion is the first Sunday in October where the church worldwide is invited to recognize the global church community and partake of Communion (a.k.a. the Lord\’s Supper and the Eucharist) during worship. I just finished listening on iTunes to this past Sunday\’s Boston University\’s Marsh Chapel worship service. Our college freshman son, Charlie, sings in this choir, so I listen to the services happily. I smile, realizing both his worship and our worship back home were celebrating the same thing…for that morning we were worshiping and taking part in the Lord\’s Supper as one. Expanding that to the global community of believers really widens my smile, maybe yours too.
In the Boston worship a passage was read from Matthew 22 that I\’ve heard many times before but always whizzed past, hurrying to the next verses. In verse 16 it says: \”Teacher, we know that You are sincere and what You profess to be and that You teach the way of God truthfully, regardless of consequences and being afraid of no man; for You are impartial and do not regard either the person or the position of anyone.\” (emphasis added is mine) Amplified Bible
Here is a snippet revealing how Jesus was viewed by the Jewish authorities of the day (the Pharisees). Granted, in this passage, they came to try to ensnare Jesus, and these, no doubt were words to butter Him up, help let down His guard. Yet, they are telling, aren\’t they? Unlike the Pharisees who worked hard to create an \’us and them\’, \’holy and unholy\’ culture, Jesus came and was completely impartial. He approached and was seen as approachable by all peoples. In the Gospels we see outcasts, the mentally ill, the poor, the wealthy, the slave, the righteous, the unclean, the working class, the learned, the criminal, the powerful, the heathen and the Gentile all flock to Him and He to them. We see at the first Communion, the first Lord\’s Supper (the Passover) He even invited Judas to the Table, the one who betrayed Him to death on a cross moments later.
I think for a moment about how approachable I am…like Jesus, do all stripes find me easy to cuddle up to? No, can\’t say that at all. All I see is how unapproachable I am, how I keep others at bay, keep a safe distance. Those like me, those who see things the way I do, no problem…everyone else, well…not so much. Why? Do I feel threatened by them? Do I wonder if I\’ll get pulled in their direction? Do I figure conversation would be forced, nothing in common? Do I recoil from them due to their point of view, which may be bathed in the culture\’s milieu? Do I find their interest and desires not noteworthy? Do I even take a moment to ask God to help me see them like He sees them? In the Gospels, Jesus saw people with the eyes of God, He saw what lay beneath the fronts and chatter they produced, the station of life they held, their ethnicity, gender or race. Even age wasn\’t a factor (\”let the little children come unto me\”). As they flocked to Him and He to them, the One who knows and sees all, shot to the heart, cut through the superficial fluff and said and did what was needed (the Will of God). He loved enough to stop, see and address, no matter who they were (He even entertained those who sought to kill Him). Recognizing the needs of their soul, instead of wondering whether He liked them or whether they would ever turn to Him, He breathed Life their way, He healed without regard for their sins, He spoke to all who would listen. He saw hope where no one else would dare to hope.
At World Communion we look and see our Brothers and Sisters in Christ regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, station of life, church affiliation. Can we, as Christians, extend this to those without Christ? Dare we speak a healing word to the homeless person on the park bench, or even invite him/her home with us for dinner? Dare we walk the Red Light District and bless with a kiss the illegitimate children there? Dare we offer to help them and their mother? Dare we invite a Muslim or a Jew to come to Jesus? Dare we enter insane asylums and reach out a hand of God\’s healing? Can the immigrant family on our street encounter Jesus because of us? Dare we just stop and see those around us, really see those around us, stop and ask God to help us see them with His eyes? Dare we trust God enough to let Him work through us so all feel welcome, so we, the face of Jesus to the world, reveal how approachable He really is?
I speak more to myself than anyone else, here. I am the worst offender, for I deliberately keep others at bay. I try to create my own safe space instead of allowing Him to orchestrate that. Funny, I do the same thing in my relationship with Him…