What You Love

In Worship by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

Table Talk

I want to tell you a story that will lead us to the object of the Table Talk – the crucifixion of Jesus.

My father called my mother “Doll.” It was his affectionate name for the woman with whom he fell madly in love. It happened when the army sent him to Fort Robinson in Little Rock during the last years of WWII. He had grown up in a small coal town in Washington on the east slopes of the Cascades.

From what he said, I don’t think his family was close. They were not religious people. My grandfather was a coal miner making a subsistence wage with long hours underground. Dad had his own life he created by a rich life on the campus of his high school and lumberjacking in the forests that surrounded his town.

He was drafted after graduation and was sent to Little Rock. On a free night out, he went bowling in Little Rock and saw this cute chick who was also in the bowling alley, and went goo-goo over her. Somehow he convinced her to date him, and after a short courtship he married her. He went AWOL at Fort Ord the night before he was to ship off to Japan just to see his Doll one more time.

My father thoroughly adopted this new family of which his marriage to “Doll” made him a part. Fun-loving sisters, a close family that devoted itself to God. What’s not to like about that? And there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for Doll, so deep was his love for her. When she died in 1992, he was lost.

That’s what happens when you’re devoted to someone; you give your life up for them.

Every person I have ever known who has been devoted to Christ has been like my father in his devotion to Doll. These devotees went crazy. Gave up status and wealth. Planned their lives according to that devotion. And in history you can find many such examples of it: Mother Teresa, Father Damian, missionaries, people who get put in prison, or die for justice, mercy, truth, and compassion.

Today such people exist, but unfortunately the world only gets to hear the voices of people that claim to be Christian, but who only invoke his name when it is good for them politically to do so. And I think that is why people often walk away from religion and from Jesus. Not realizing that will fail to correct whatever they think is wrong in the world.

I’ve had a song floating around in my head that expresses what I am thinking. Listen to the words:

Jesus and Shall It Ever Be
Joseph Grigg, 1765

Jesus, and shall it ever be,
A mortal man ashamed of Thee?
Ashamed of Thee, whom angels praise,
Whose glories shine through endless days?

Ashamed of Jesus! sooner far
Let evening blush to own a star;
He sheds the beams of light divine
O’er this benighted soul of mine.

Ashamed of Jesus! just as soon
Let midnight be ashamed of noon;
‘Tis midnight with my soul till He,
Bright, Morning Star, bid darkness flee.

Ashamed of Jesus! that dear Friend
On whom my hopes of heaven depend!
No; when I blush, be this my shame,
That I no more revere His name.

Till then–nor is my boasting vain–
Till then I’ll boast a Savior slain;
And O may this my glory be,
That Christ is not ashamed of me!

This pertains directly to the Eucharist in this way.

This meal is my single, best opportunity during the week to declare my love of and devotion to a crucified Savior. When I take the bread [take bread] and hold it, my mind turns to Jesus body. Why? Because Jesus said, “Take. Eat. This is my body.” And a rush of thoughts as I think of how people cursed him and later tore his flesh and hung his body by nails through the wrists. All for us. I want to say how uncommon this kind of love is. [Pray and eat}

And when I take this cup [take cup] I think about the rivulets of blood that flow down his back and the torrent that sprang from his side. “This is my blood” Jesus said as he held aloft the cup. And earlier he had told his followers that life was contained in the cup. How can I not BURST with love for that? {Pray and drink.]

People who understand the significance of this love, do crazy things. They marry their sweetheart and go AWOL to see them. They live with lepers. They willingly go to the sword or the stake like the apostles did, ten of whom died awful deaths. Christ-lovers pack one-way coffins to go declare the name of Jesus in a dark land.

This is what this meal means! It is not something that I tack on to my story and say “by the way, eat the bread.” Jesus is the story and the object of Eucharist!

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