Paradox at the table: Realm
(This meditation is the last in a series regarding the communion table)
The bible is a collection of certain letters and books put together to create a canon. Basically, early in the Christian story there were tons of letters and books different local churches collected and used. Some of them were really good and some of them were complete frauds. A group of early Christians got together and picked the ones they considered authentic. While there are those who might argue for or against some of the books included or excluded, for the most part they did a good job. This is why, when you open up your bible to the New Testament the first four books basically tell the same story. (This would be Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.) The reason these early Christian Fathers chose four of the same story is simple and I will explain. Eye witness accounts are always more reliable when there are more than one set of eyes to share the account. It is like the Gospel writers are the witnesses giving testimony to the event. They are not all the same because each writer has their own perspective, but they are all important.
This impacts our theme for the table because both the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel Luke share one of Jesus' sermons. Their account, as it is with the writings of eye witnesses, vary in some subtle but important ways. In Luke, the need is physical. As we need to eat to survive in this world so the Gospel of Luke recalls Jesus saying that God blesses the poor because their richness is in the God's kingdom. The need is with those who cry and hunger physically. The Gospel of Matthew, on the other hand, shows Jesus focusing on the spiritual need. The focus is on grief, obedience, mercy, humility and peace. At the table our soul needs to be fed as much as our stomach. Jesus played in both the physical and spiritual world. He physically ate and drank with people, fed people and healed people. He spiritually ate and drank with people, fed people and healed people. He was completely concerned about the body and the soul.