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{Today I begin a 40 day journey of intentional soul encounters. It’ seems fitting to start this journey with communion. I wrote and shared the following words for my church’s Sunday morning communion service held on September 7, 2014. Come join me at the table—we’re in this together.}

Communion.

It’s such a beautiful, sacred, and holy time for us to come together—wherever we might be in the journey—to remember Jesus and His sacrificial love for us.

The blood.

The body.

The cup.

The bread.

The table.

Jesus. 

I don’t know why—but I have a tendency to perceive communion to be a formal affair. And to me a formal affair means looking all put together, shiny, and polished and sitting quietly with that tiny juice and cracker crumb while having polite chit chat with Jesus.

But the places I’ve journeyed in my soul these last couple years—well—I just can’t do it anymore. I can’t keep coming to the table as though it were draped in crisp white linens that I’m afraid I’ll wrinkle or stain.

I realize now more than ever that the table is not for the shiny and polished—it’s for the messy, vulnerable, and broken. Like me. And I think—maybe—like you.

One thing I know—the journey of my soul these last couple years have been anything but shiny and polished.

To be honest—I’m a mess.

The last couple years have been by far the most excruciating season in the 22 years I’ve journeyed with Jesus.

In 2012—the day after Father’s Day—I held my dad’s hand as he took his last breath. I haven’t been the same since. 

My personal grief experience was multi-faceted. I not only miss my dad, but his death became an avenue in which my heart was ripped open to expose deeper issues in my life. God catapulted me into deeper pools of healing, but it didn’t (and hasn’t) come without pain.

Tearing layers off an already raw heart is a painful process—but a necessary one—because as I recently read: without the crucifixion, the resurrection will never come.

Communion for me can no longer be about striving to be shiny and polished, sitting passively in remembrance. For me it must be about actively engaging with God in the very raw, messy, and real place I live.

Not to long ago, my family watched a movie together. Sitting beside me was Blonde Boy. In one particular scene the main character watched his father die and then grieved the death of his father. It hit too close to home. As I attempted to hold it all together for the sake of family fun night, my 7 year old moved in close to me. He put his hand on my arm, leaned in, and whispered these words,

“Mom, I’m sorry about this part.”

Hearing those words, “I’m sorry” meant someone knew the pain in my heart and I wasn’t alone in it.

And how good it is to know that we are not alone.

I know the communion table is often seen as the place to confess our sins and tell Jesus we’re sorry. And it is that. But I think there is another piece…

I think Jesus wants to tell us He’s sorry. 

Not the kind of sorry where He’s done something wrong—no. Because He’s done everything right. I’m talking about the kind of sorry where He sympathizes and validates your pain.

For those who are in the darkness of the valley, going through a rough patch, or feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of life…

Jesus sits beside you and together as you and He watch the darker scenes of your life unfold—He reaches out to you, leans in close, and whispers these words—

“Beloved, I’m sorry about this part.

I’m sorry for this part of your journey. I’m sorry for the pain you are enduring, the grief that consumes you, the dreams you’ve lost, and the battle you struggle with every day. Beloved, I’m sorry for this part you are going through.

My son couldn’t delete that scene from the movie just because I felt sad. I guess we could’ve hit fast forward, but if we skipped the painful parts we would have missed the scenes in which beauty and healing unraveled—and victory came in the end.

For those who are looking for the delete button, or trying to find a way to escape, or numb the pain—Jesus takes you by shoulders and looks you square into your eyes and tenderly says these words,

Beloved, I’m sorry for this part of the journey, but you must go through it. You need to walk through the pain and keep. moving. forward. I have so much to show you along this path, gifts to give you, and hope to heal you. You can do this. We can do this—together. You are not alone.

So—now what? How do we come to the table?  What does it even look like to commune with God at the table in the real, raw, and messy place we live?

What does the communion table look like for me?

I don’t know about you, but I’m desperate for Jesus. And for me, desperate doesn’t sit quietly at the table shiny and polished, politely sipping on juice.

I. Need. Jesus.

I need to come to Him sometimes running, sometimes crawling, and slide in next to Him at the table. I need a safe place to be raw and vulnerable with the only one who knows the messiness of my soul—and loves me anyway.

I need permission to bang my fists into that table and scream how life isn’t fair and then bury my face in His shoulder and cry an ugly cry till I pass out from exhaustion.

and I need to wake to the smell of fresh baked bread and feel its warmth as Jesus brings it near my mouth and says,

“Eat Dear one. You need this for your journey—it will bring you life and it will give you My strength.”

And when my eyes blink wide open, I need to see His holy hands extend that cup of Grace. I need Him to press it to my lips and hear Him say,

“Drink Beloved. Drink in My Grace. There is enough.”

And I need to catch His gaze and dare to look into His holy eyes to see His unfailing love for me. The kind of love that gives me courage to trust Him with my messy heart—and in spite of it all—believe it is well with my soul.

I need that kind of communion with God. How about you?

**

It’s your turn to slide in next to Jesus at the table—and take the cup and bread. Will you trust Him with your raw and messy heart?

~

Come to the table friend, we’re in this together.
I’ll save you a seat by me—and next to Him.
Laura

~

Soul Sounds
It Is Well by Bethel Music

Soul Scripture
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Rom 15:13)

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