Maybe the Other Person Is Not the Difficult One

Meals together are to be a time of harmony. We are all of us companions here. The Latin word for companion comes from two words meaning “one who shares bread together with you.”

As companions, we should want to be companions on more than just one level. We are growing together, being knit together as we partake, and so we should really want to go together.

Now you have heard us emphasize before that we do not want you suspending yourself from the Supper. We do not want you feeling like you have had a bad week, and so you are going to send yourself to your room without supper—“so that mom and dad don’t have to do it.” You are not mom and dad, and you don’t get to make that decision. You need the strength, you need the encouragement, you need to partake. If you did badly last week, then why are you trying to help ensure that you will do poorly next week? This Supper is not a reward for being good. It is nourishment for sinners in various states of recuperation.

You have also heard that the verse about leaving your gift on the altar, and going to be reconciled to your brother applies to tithing, and not to eating. It is “gift on the altar” not “food from the altar.” But somehow churches are better at encouraging the kids to stay out of the frig and pantry than they are at discouraging the kids from contributing money to the household budget.

But having said all this, it is important that you take this nourishment for the task assigned, which is to strive for like-mindedness. Do you need to refrain from this meal because someone else in the body is partaking, and you and he are not speaking? No, not at all. But if this state of affairs is a “standing one,” then you need to be partaking so that you have the strength to go speak to them and put things right. And if every time you have tried that, it only makes things worse, then you need to partake so that you will have the strength to involve others who will be part of a solution.

Maybe the other person is difficult, maybe just you are, and maybe you both are. In any case, you need the Lord’s grace and help, and this Table is one of the places He supplies it. So come in faith, come with gratitude.

So come, and welcome to Jesus Christ.