Transforming the Ordinary Into Extraordinary!
How do you follow a God you cannot see, hear or touch?
Has anyone ever asked you a question like that? If we’re honest with ourselves, then most of us have asked something similar along the road of faith.The visible, clear, obvious union between Jesus and his apprentices will disappear at his death. Until his death, to be one of Jesus’ apprentices or followers required leaving behind your routine life to follow, learn from, and live with Jesus. His death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven would change that.
This past Thursday I had the rare treat of sharing in a couple of meals with two of the most significant mentors in my life. Suzanne from Dallas was leading a weekend workshop at Laity Lodge and Burt from Waco was in attendance. The meals at Laity did not disappoint, but far more meaningful was the extended time in the presence of my mentors who love me and whom I love. We broke bread, passed the salt, shared the salad dressing, and shared in both lighthearted and vulnerable conversation. Though I have eaten many meals at Laity, I’m not sure I will ever be there again without remembering the shared meal with my mentors. The meals impressed themselves on my life and on my memory. They reminded me how the simple can become sacred.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus took a meal tradition, something simple and reoccurring in the lives of the Jewish people and used it to strengthen his followers’ faith. It was not just that this was a significant religious holy day (Passover), but Jesus adapted the traditional blessing the head of the family would say at every meal over the bread and the fruit of the vine. Every meal. So you can imagine how the disciples would feel at every other meal from then on. Whether with other Christ followers or not, they would remember how Jesus took this everyday ordinary moment and transformed it into a sign of his selfless love, radical sacrifice, and full redemption from sin.
There would be many moments ahead when Jesus would not be there physically for his disciples. The disciples couldn’t look on Jesus with their physical eyes for assurance. They could not be enveloped in his physical arms to comfort their worried, wearied, and wavering hearts. Their ears would strain to hear a word of Truth, direction, and challenge for how to proceed.The breaking of the bread and blessing of the wine was to remind them of Jesus’ body broken for his followers and his life given for their redemption. The bread and wine was given to each of them to sustain, strength, and support their physical growth. In a similar way, Jesus’ selfless sacrifice of his life is given to rescue us from sin and to redeem all that is broken within us.
Jesus was with them at this Passover meal, which future Christ followers would come to remember as the Lord’s Supper. The table we celebrate communion with is Jesus’ table. We can approach it with confidence, because his sacrificed life has made the Way for us. We can also approach Jesus’ table with humility and reverence, because the example of Jesus’ life and death inspire both within us. As we are invited to share in the cup of Jesus, we are reminded of the hardships, persecutions, setbacks, misunderstandings, betrayals and loneliness he endured. Since we share in his cup we know we too will share in sufferings, but also we know we will share in his resurrection power.
How do you follow a God you can’t see, hear, or touch?
One answer might be we meet God at the table. This table points us as a community to Christ’s life, death, and resurrection through simple everyday ordinary things like bread and wine. We are reminded how God took the execution of a simple carpenter’s son and made it the way for the redemption of the world. We can then hope with reverence and humility in how Christ’s Spirit will use that sacrifice to take our everyday lives and transform them into something extraordinary!