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Minister

From the Minister

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Thought for the Day Thursday 23rd April




THURSDAY 23rd APRIL

THE BARBECUE ON THE BEACH (part three)

I wrote yesterday, that I thought the disciples would have recognised this breakfast on the beach as a kind of communion meal. Whether they did or not, there are certain characteristics of this meal that remind me of communion.

The first is the fact that the meal is ready before the disciples haul in the net with the spectacular catch of fish. Jesus has provided the fish and the bread.

The second is the fact that Jesus issues the invitation “come”.

The third is the fact that Jesus is the one who serves.

And finally after the meal we have the forgiveness and restoration of Peter.

In all of this I see things that we can learn. When we join round the communion table, we are fed by a meal that Jesus provides. This is true in two respects. The first is symbolic: the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Jesus, the second is in the recognition that all good gifts come from our Heavenly Father. The bread and wine may come from human hands, but it is God who is the ultimate provider. It is interesting that although the bread and fish are already cooking, Jesus instructs the disciples to bring more fish from the catch they have just made. Communion is not just about what Jesus brings to the table. As we come, we all bring something to share in the fellowship of the meal.

The second is a truth oft repeated as we celebrate communion in the church, “This is not the table of the Church, but the table of the Lord and it is Jesus who invites us”. As we share communion, we share because Jesus has invited us. He says to us “Come”.

A notable feature of some of the meals where Jesus is present, is that he serves those who are there. We come to a meal with the “Servant King”. Whoever presides at the table, whoever hands out the bread and wine, they do so on behalf of Jesus. It is he who serves us through the hands of his followers, the body of Christ.

The final aspect comes after the meal. After sharing round the meal, Peter finds forgiveness and restoration.

In practical terms, what do we take away from this account to help us today?

I will say some of the things that I have learnt from my re-reading of this story. After the lockdown at some future communion service there will be an opportunity to share what you have learnt.

For me: Lesson 1, Do you remember that sign that some Christians used to have in their homes. “Christ is the head of this house, the unseen guest at every meal”. I become more convinced by the tradition of some Christians, that every meal is a communion meal. It is a good way of seeing things; whenever we share fellowship with each other, we share fellowship with Jesus.

Lesson 2, When I come to the communion table, I am one of the two or three gathered. I am also bringing something to share, which brings a blessing to all.

Lesson 3, The communion table is not a place to be avoided because we have examined ourselves and found ourselves to be miserable sinners, but a place to come because we are miserable sinners. When we leave it, like Peter, we should find ourselves forgiven and restored.



Steve Wallis



 
Newbridge Baptist Church
Llanafan Road, Newbridge, Powys, LD1 6LY
Telephone The Minister: 01597 860185
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