Preparing for Worship – Doug Haney, associate pastor
Come to the banquet hall. A place is set for you. O come and sit awhile. This gift is free.
In my childhood Baptist church in a small town in north Georgia, the Lord’s Supper was only served four times year and only on Sunday evenings. It was placed at the end of the service — and we were always careful to say “it’s only a symbol” (as if symbols are not very important). Does that experience ring true for you?
The quarterly communion (actually, it was never called communion — too much like the Methodists around the corner!) was certainly no feast.
And yet feasting was not foreign to these folk. Dinner on the grounds was a lavish outdoor picnic where every family at church brought fried chicken and ham and green bean casseroles (the kind with those crunchy onion rings on top) and potato salad and pies and cakes and cobblers and sweet tea. What a banquet! Our family was a three-generation family at the First Baptist Church of Alpharetta. I typically went in search of my Granny Pruitt’s deviled eggs. I don’t know how I could tell her deviled eggs from all the others, but I could.
And what if you showed up empty handed on that day? Be anxious for nothing. There was more than enough food for everybody.
Though the bread and the cup are only a “morsel and a sip,” as you taste I invite you to ponder how these are signs pointing us to a feast that awaits us, an invitation from a generous God. This morning’s choral anthem text gets it right: A place is set for you, for me. This gift is free.