He walked all afternoon out the dry hot rod toward Cuatro Cienagas. No one he met passed without speaking. He walked along past fields where men and women were hoeing the earth and those at work by the roadside would stop and nod to him and say how good the day was and he would agree with all they said. In the evening he took his supper with workers in their camp, five or six families seated together at a table made of cut poles bound with hemp twine. The table was pitched under a canvas fly and the evening sun resolved within the place beneath a deep orange light where the seams and stitching passed in shadow over their faces and their clothes as they moved. The girls set out the dishes on little pallets made from the ends of crates that nothing overbalance on the uneven surface of the table and an old man at the farthest end of the table prayed for them all. He asked that God remember those that had died and he asked that the living gathered together here remember that the corn grows only by the will of God and beyond that will there is neither corn nor growing nor light nor air nor rain nor anything at all save only darkness. Then they ate.
From ‘The Crossing’ by Cormack McCarthy
Psalm 104 says that God has given us
…wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
We have come together, to share a meal together. Just as Jesus shared his last meal before his death with his disciples so we as his disciples share a meal together. And because of his death and resurrection he is here too.
Like the old man in the story we recognise that God is in everything that we can see or feel, and without his will and presence there is only darkness. God is present in the air we breathe, in the sunshine, in the rain we feel on our faces, in the stranger we sit next to on the bus, in our colleagues at work or college, and in one another.
And because God is present everywhere he is also present here and present in this bread and in this wine.
Martin Luther said that although God is present everywhere, he is not visible everywhere.
In some places God appears hidden, or we do not perceive him.
But in this meal we see God revealed.
We see the love of Jesus, self-sacrificing and overcoming.
We see his victory over sin, disease and death.
We see his glorious resurrection.
We see his redeeming work, that has rescued us from death and brought us into life.
And we see ourselves, once separated from God and from each other, but now bound up together in life-giving and life-sustaining fellowship with him.
The bread and wine we share represent a meal. This is ordinary bread and ordinary wine. Yet if we can see it, there is more going on, a deeper reality.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10.16:
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
We have all eaten the bread of life, that is, Jesus who declared:
I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
We have feasted on Jesus and he has become part of us, we are in him and he is in us.
And today as we share this meal, we recognise the presence of Jesus in one another and we feed once again on Jesus.
I invite you all to come. The only qualification is that you know you need Jesus and that without his presence all is darkness.
Come and and freely enjoy his gift of grace. Enjoy his forgiveness and grace. Let go of your burdens and feast on him.
The wine of God will make your heart glad, the bread of life will strengthen your heart, and the anointing of his Spirit will fill you with his radiance and glory.