Since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us . . . [Hebrews 12:1]
I believe . . . in the communion of saints. [The Apostles’ Creed]
I went to worship at several churches this morning (Sunday, May 14). I planned to end up where I did, at my home church, Centenary in Smithfield. There I had a beautiful and unexpected experience.
Towards the end of a great service, Centenary’s pastors invited a man I grew up with to come forward. Together we consecrated a communion table – evidently to be placed in front of the altar – to God’s Glory and in memory of his mother.
The saint we commemorated – Doris Jones Parrish – was a remarkable woman. Singlehandedly she reared her sons after the all too early death of her husband, a gentleman I don’t remember. But I do remember Mrs. Parrish. She and my parents were in the same Sunday School class, she and her family and my own household sat together in the church balcony at worship, and she and my father would argue (kindly) about all sorts of things before and after worship. And Mrs. Parrish would always tell my dad – and anyone who wanted to listen – that we were all loved by Jesus.
As I waited for the service to begin and realized from the bulletin announcement that we were to consecrate a table where the Lord’s Meal would be offered, I remembered again that we are all welcomed, all loved by Jesus.
Because people like my parents and Mrs. Parrish worked hard to teach me that truth – and because the Holy Spirit has convicted me of it for myself – I know I am surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who testify to the love of Jesus, for all God’s people.
After the resurrection, Jesus was generally known among his people when they were at the table together (Emmaus, beside the sea, in the Upper Room). He still meets us there in Risen power.
Reflecting on all this makes me wonder what I do to show that welcoming love to others. How about you?
Happy Easter still!
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