Heart Shaping Habit - Gathering Around the Table

We are worshipping beings. We are all lovers. In short, we are what we love. But what we think we love may not be what we love. When we take time to examine our schedules, our passions, and our habits, we begin to see where the deepest longings of our hearts are. A significant portion of this series of lessons have come out of James K.A. Smith’s book, You Are What You Love. One of the points he makes that has stuck with me for a while is that what we learn is more “caught than taught.” What he means by this is that we have hundreds of things that are shaping our hearts without us knowing it. Images, messages, habits, stories, etc. shape our core beliefs and passions. Most of our childhood is spent in classes receiving information. While receiving this information, “who we are” is shaped by the rituals we regularly participate in. This isn’t much different for adults. We often take for granted what is really shaping who we are. 

This Sunday we will focus on one of our habits, one of our rituals, which is meant to reorient us, shape our hearts, and transform us. This practice is found at the center of Christian community from the beginnings of the church. Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took the bread of the Passover feast and told them to take it and proclaimed, “This is my body.” He did the same thing with the cup of wine, “This is my blood.” He took two of the elements from the feast which celebrated God liberating his people from slavery and made a new covenant. We are people of this story. A story much like Israel’s but much bigger. The story we are part of goes back to the beginning and includes God’s people. We take the bread because it is the body of Christ. We take the cup because it is the blood of Christ. 

We struggle with the word “is” here. History has shown lots of debates around whether or not the bread and cup literally become the body and blood of Christ. When we introduce the concept of “literally” we shift the focus from “is.” This IS the body and blood of Christ by faith. Not only is Christ present in the emblems, through faith, but it is God who is the host of the Table who invites us to join him. We all come to the Table by the same grace from the same host. We don’t come to the Table timidly and we shouldn’t come to the Table flippantly. We come to the Table as children who are called home for dinner. 

As you prepare for Sunday, I want you to focus on two things: First, what story are you entering into when you participate in the Lord’s Supper? What does this mean for your identity? How does it shape your heart? Second, who invites you to the Table? Who is the host? How do you respond to the presence of God at the Table? Think about who else is at the Table, how are your relationships changed by being in the presence of God together? 

Our regular participation in the Lord’s Supper should shape who we are, what we love, what/who we long for, our relationships with one another, and our relationships with those outside of the church. If you were to be intentional with your time around the Table with the Family of God every week, how would your life look different in five years?