“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. (Revelation 3:20-NLT)
When it was time, he sat down, all the apostles with him, and said, "You've no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you..." (Luke 22:14,15 - The Message)
Two phrases in these verses stand out to me...
“…we will share a meal together as friends”,
“You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you…”
Revelation 3:20 wasn't written to an individual, but to one of the seven churches in Asia Minor (Laodicea), and what strikes me about the way that it is translated in the New Living Translation is that Jesus says His desire is simply to "share a meal with them as friends". That's why He was knocking at the door of that particular church...just to be invited in to sit informally at the table with them...like friends!
Then, the way that Luke 22:14 is phrased in The Message appeals to me because of the way He says "You've no idea how much I have looked forward to eating...with you".
Even though these two verses are talking about two different things, they both show an interesting aspect of Jesus' personality which is universally relatable. He apparently wants to have friends to eat with.
Today I've been reading and re-reading some of your responses to the last article, 20 Questions (btw, the picture is from the set of the 50's game show of the same name), and I've been thinking about how a daily blog site is really like a virtual-reality table, around which people can break intellectual bread together in cyber-space on a regular basis.
Those of you who know me through CITN know how much I love all the Christian sacraments...I love to baptize people in water, I love to dedicate babies (especially when I am their family's pastor), I usually enjoy performing wedding ceremonies, and when there is a real connection, I even love to serve others as Jesus did when He washed His disciples' feet. But nothing is more significant to me than communion, or the Lord's Supper, and I especially enjoy serving it in an informal, almost primitive context, where it seems like a real meal shared among friends, instead of like a sterile, religious ritual.
When Jesus said to His disciples, "THIS is my body", He wasn't just referring to the actual bread that He was breaking for them. "THIS" meant many things on many levels. "THIS" meant those twelve men...that very diverse, somewhat rag-tag group of fishermen, tax collectors, anarchists, and misfits whose common bond was their connection to the Christ revealed through Jesus of Nazareth. The real communion wasn't the physcial bread and wine symbolizing his body and blood as much as it was the subliminal, indefinable connection of those people around that table. And on a deeper level, "THIS" also meant (and means) a meaningful exchange that is an event or a unique "Christ-moment" in time.
Many of you have expressed that you appreciate how this blog gives you a chance to connect with me on a personal, informal level...and to connect with one another on a spiritual level...and I appreciate that you perceive this medium that way. I think that BLOGINTHENOW sort of embodies my philosophy of ministry, in a sense. By that I mean, I value (and need) my privacy, but I don't require the protection of a posse or an army of "armor-bearers" to help keep a distance between me and my flock. I don't want to have a series of counseling appointments after every service at CITN, but I do like to stand at the door and thank everyone for coming, and to shake hands with (or hug)everybody and touch the people in a meaningful way. I'm not all that interested in making a lot of idle small talk, but I do like to converse with friends and hear their views on things...I love ideas and thoughtful diaogue, and especially revelation...in a word, I love people, and if you are "people", I love you!
There's a reason why I don't live in a gated community and why my kids go to public school and why I fly commercial when I travel. Don't get me wrong...my house isn't open for people just to drop by whenever they feel like it, and you do have to make an appointment to see me at my office...but that's really more about good manners and professionalism than anything else. The bottom line is, I want to be respected, but I don't need to be revered. I am comfortable with the notion of being the pastor of a mega-church, but I don't need to think of myself as a celebrity. I have a healthy self-esteem, but I never forget that the fivefold ministry gifts are the servants to the Body of Christ.
My point is, many of you say that you like having this format to talk to me, and I say, "rightbackatcha!" This blog site is kind of a contolled environment where I can effectively communicate with friends...a table in an upper room, if you will...and I like being here. I don't mean to sound disrespectful to the traditional concepts of communion with actual bread and wine, but really, every time there is a "manna"-exchange here on this site, there is a form of "communion" celebrated. Where two or more are gathered together on-line in His name, there He is in the midst of them...if Jesus is Lord of all, then He is also Lord of and in cyber-space!
Anyway, you're all welcome here, and I hope that more will join us here in the future...there are unoccupied chairs at the table. More than anything else, I pray that you will encounter and commune with the Christ every time you log on.
By the way, for those of you who are already regulars, you may want to know that I added 10 new songs to the playlist today. Hope you enjoy!