April 21, 2014

Welcome to the Table

I hope your Easter weekend was an enjoyable one. This year I had the privilege to dream and create the ambiance and set up for the communion table at our church's Good Friday service. I had been creating and dreaming of the night for months and when it finally came I was so thankful for the response people took coming to the setting. 

The evening was held outside and was much less traditional than a "normal" Good Friday service you might expect. The goal of the evening was for our community to interact and engage in the night just as Jesus came to interact and engage with us. It was beautiful. So many came to participate as worship was held acoustically in one corner of the lawn, communion was held in another, and scripture was being read aloud around fire pits among the rest of the area. Art stations were placed where you could reflect on the cross and create a picture of what it meant to you. I think it was one of my favorite things to be a part of in a long time. 

My vision for the table was to create a scenery that looked and felt like you were actually coming to the table to be with Jesus as it would have been when he was here. A vision of a wedding table setting immediately came to mind when I started to dream. Lots of gold, cream, white, and hints of bold reds and greens. I asked people as they entered the area to picture themselves at the table with Jesus himself on the night of His last supper, as though they were in the same position and seating as the disciples. As they pictured this I asked them to reflect on the words Jesus said to them, telling them how much he deeply longed for the moment to sit with them and spend this last meal with them. That He purposefully chose them to be with Him and at the same time, in that very same moment, chose for us to be with Him too. When I, myself, reflected on this reality, it overwhelmed me. I think it made communion that much more meaningful for me. Something I never fully grasped, but once I put myself in this position, hearing Jesus speak my specific name, telling me how He chose to be with me and chose to go the cross for me, for the sin I have done and will do, it changed it all for me. How could I be loved so much!? How could He actually want to be with me that much that He would endure such a torturous and traumatic death? I don't get it. But I long deep in my soul for that kind of love and I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness that this love is true and is real. More than that, I'm filled with awe and gratitude that it was a choice He had to make, not something he was forced to do or magically manipulated into, He chose it…and He would choose it all over again if He had to. 

But the best news is that He doesn't have to choose it all over again because its already been done. It is finished. I'm sealed in His arms and He's sealed in my heart. There's nothing that can separate that, nothing, notta, zip! And I'm brought to tears all over again on what this weekend means. I long for my kids to grow up knowing this kind of love and choosing it for themselves someday. One of my favorite parts of the evening was watching so many different people come to the table. All ages young and old, different ethnicities, families gathering together, and some coming on their own, some people were dressed up, some came in regular old clothes, some with homes to go back to, some that have been living on the streets. It was the most beautiful picture of welcome and love knowing that this table is meant for just that…everyone and anyone. And for that I say, thank you, thank you, thank you, sweet Jesus. 

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