Who is welcome at the table of the Crucified One?

Who is welcome at the table of the Crucified One?

If a person desires to participate in the Lord’s Supper, s/he must meet three criteria. That is, to approach the table of the Crucified One, we must be able to say three things:

1.  “I am a sinner.” Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5.31-32).  That is, I must be able to agree with Jesus’ diagnosis of me. There are many persons who do very noble and altruistic deeds but who cannot agree to Jesus’ diagnosis of them.  Who we really are is found not in what we do when we’re at our best, but in what we do when we’re at our worst.  Obviously, we are to truly celebrate the noble deeds that God empowers everyone to do, but to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we must be sinners.  We come saying not, “I’m part of the solution,” but “I’m part of the problem.”

 2.  “I am a reconciled sinner.” Jesus’ death reconciles those hostile to God. Paul writes to the Christians at Rome: “…while yet being God’s enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son.”  (5.10).  Reconciliation happens through Jesus’ death and only on his terms–namely, complete surrender.  Jesus does not negotiate (he loves us too much).  Further, reconciliation with God demands that I seek reconciliation with others:  “Whoever loves God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar” (1 John 4.20):  if I am in a conflict and have not attempted reconciliation, then I should refrain from the Lord’s Supper. Jesus says:

“…if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Mt. 5:23-24)

Paul provides an important “if” and also speaks to the extent of persons with whom we are to be at peace:

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Rom. 12.18)

3.  “I am a reconciled sinner in the body of Christ.” Scripture knows of no follower of Yahweh or disciple of Jesus who exists apart from the community, or fellowship, of believers. Rather than being apart from the body of Christ, s/he is a part of the body of Christ: Paul writes,

“There are many members, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’” (1Cor. 12.20-21)

We do not come to the Lord’s Table as independent reconciled sinners, but as those who are fully known and, therefore, joyfully admitted to the fellowship of believers by ordained, accountable leaders whom Christ has called, so that we can, therefore, come and joyfully participate as reconciled sinners the Lord’s Supper. We come as members of a particular (i.e., “local”) manifestation of the universal body of Christ. Not a fan of church membership? Read more here: https://hopeunbroken.com/2014/09/11/top-10-reasons-not-to-be-a-member-of-a-local-church/

So who is welcome to the Table of the Crucified One?

Anyone—male or female, rich, poor, black, white, small or great, young or old, strong or weak, citizen or undocumented, resident or alien, “achiever” or addict, artisan or academic, rejoicing or grieving, athletic or infirm, failing yet continuing to struggle with sin—anyone who can say:

“I am a reconciled sinner in the body of Christ.”

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