“How many are gathering today with family, friends and people they love … watching the Super Bowl together, eating, laughing, crying … hoping and celebrating and remembering?” That’s how I began the invitation to the Lord’s Supper this morning in worship. Super Bowl Sunday is a kind of secular “National Communion Sunday.” And I continued, “Everyone is invited to this party … the only requirement is that you’re wearing a NY Giants jersey.”
I was joking, of course, and the congregation knew it and burst out in laughter (good thing!). The mark of a good joke, though, is that it has an element (if ever so vague) of truth. The truth is that the Church has often said everyone is welcome, while at the same time, only admitting those with a proper and acceptable “jersey”. We claim to have an “open” table … yet, time and time again, I have met people who felt excluded for one reason or another. One woman told me that it was only after months of visiting our congregation weekly that she finally realized when I said, “everyone is welcome” I really meant her — that she was welcome. That was the first time she had ever participated in communion, and she experienced the grace of Jesus Christ in a very unique and tangible way.
“The only requirement,” I repeated this morning, “is that you’re willing to come to the party.” The only requirement is that you want to be in relationship with Jesus Christ. Our table is open … to every race and nationality, old and young, rich and poor, good and bad, gay and straight and everything in-between, Republican and Democrat, Giants fans and Patriot fans and non-football fans …
In what ways have you experienced the openness or closed-ness of the table? of the Church?