Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
Sunday we will gather at the altar.
Sunday we will join a parade of broken humans, journeying side by side down the center aisle of this safe place we call the sanctuary.
We will move slowly with canes and walkers, oxygen tanks trailing behind, small children holding their parents’ hands, weathered old hands shaking with the telltale signs of aging.
Tomorrow we will stumble out of our pews and move toward a table that offers its welcome to all people. In that moment, it may not be clear but it is most certainly true that we have more in common than the differences that divide us.
I came of age in the 1970’s. I was formed by life in a small town, by Christian values, Midwest culture, and the music of my youth. In 1973, Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the Eagles wrote the song Tequila Sunrise. It speaks of the loneliness and the broken heart of a common man, “a hired hand.” As I listened to this song anew for the thousandth time, I was struck by the line “take another shot of courage.”
Tomorrow we will gather at the altar to share the bread and wine of Holy Communion. We will come at the invitation of Jesus. The table is his, the guestlist is none of our business. No one needs to bring their resume, church membership is not required; we do not need to understand the mystery of this meal or the mystery of the incarnation. We do not even need to believe; it does not matter where we have been or where we are going.
The invitation comes from the one and only host of the meal; the only vote that matters is that of Jesus, and his vote is cast for you. Jesus invites all to come. Jesus invites you to come and he may invite a few that you would rather not dine with.
Come to the table, take another shot of courage, bread and wine and words of hope wait for you at the table. Drag your weary body forward. If you are lonely, broken, depressed, betrayed, dismayed, diseased, plagued by doubt, feeling hopeless, nearing the end of life, or the end of your marriage, then this meal is for you. Take another shot of courage. With trembling hearts and fearful minds open yourself to the grace filled words of Jesus; “You are loved, you are forgiven, and you are never alone.”
Take another shot of courage. Have a transfusion of courage, the blood of Jesus strengthening you, allowing you to face the world once again. Take another shot of courage, and know that everyone around you is on the same journey of insecurity and doubt. Look around, observe the parade of sinners, give thanks for the people of God, and go forward in peace.
Take another shot of courage. Tequila is not the answer, money is not the answer, knowledge is not the answer, and courage will not be found in the presence of the Wizard of Oz. Take another shot of courage; open your heart to Jesus.
Tomorrow we will gather at the altar, I hope you will be there. Mine is the Church where everybody’s welcome.
Christianity is one beggar telling another where to find bread.
Your friend the beggar, I am your