Welcoming New Members to the Table

Man is what he eats.
— Ludwig Feurbach

To share a meal with others is one of the most common things we do as people. And yet, breaking bread together is also one of the most significant acts we have the privilege of participating in. Throughout the gospels, the religious elite of the day would accuse Jesus of being a glutton and a drunkard because he was seen eating and drinking with sinners, tax collectors, outcasts, and the untouchables of society. Jesus would constantly invite others to join in on the feasting, showing up for dinner with those he met along the way. Many of the parables and lessons Christ used to explain the Kingdom of God involved feasting. God’s Word uses imagery of great banquets and celebrations where the bread is abundant and where the wine flows to paint pictures for us of the world to come. Indeed, Jesus’s first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding feast. It is as though God was once again hovering above the waters of creation and bringing beauty and abundance and life to a place where there was once only deficit and want.

Each week at City Church, we gather together to not only hear God’s Word read, sung, and preached, but also extended out to us to touch, taste, and savor. As one author puts it, “The Lord’s Supper is a physical handle faith grabs hold of, allowing us to grasp God’s promises with our bodies as well as our minds.”

The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is one which embodies the Word of God that was just preached. We are not creatures merely created to think about what we hear, but creatures made to use all of our senses to behold the Word of God, Christ Jesus. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper each week because we believe that we need it each week. We are forgetful and wayward people, we are fragile and desperate for the grace of God. At the table, we come together to partake in more of God’s grace to us. It is at the table where we join with King Jesus, who is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit to once again be nourished by abundant grace and mercy through his broken body and shed blood on the cross so that we might be whole.

Sharing in this meal is something all Christians are invited into when they come to a place in their lives where they know that they are in need of God’s grace offered in Jesus. We had the privilege of welcoming two children–Chloe Abrams and Eva Earman– to the table just this Sunday. When a child who has been welcomed into the church through baptism comes to a place where they know they are sinners loved by God through Jesus, the invitation to them to participate in the Lord’s Supper is extended with joy!

Typically, when a child reaches third grade City Church offers something called Children’s Worship Graduation. This is a short class where students learn about being a full member and participant of City Church. They learn about the whole worship service, as well as how to function as a member outside of worship and on other days of the week. Students are also presented once again with the truths of the gospel and how God’s grace changes their sinful hearts. After students complete this class, they are given opportunity to become communing members (a member who partakes in the Lord’s Supper). The only requirement is that they feel their need of Jesus’s grace, by responding with faith and repentance. If you believe your child might be ready to be welcomed to the Lord’s Supper, please let me know by emailing me at jim@citychurchrva.com.