This past Sunday we served communion at Disciples Church. This worship experience is one that has been celebrated since the Last Supper of Christ as a reminder of the price Jesus paid, illustrating our privilege to connect with Him directly. We take a small piece of bread and a bit of juice as a simple but powerful symbol that we have taken Jesus into our lives and he is very much part of us. It’s amazing to think that Jesus has welcomed me to His family. I know my darkest thoughts and deepest fears. They are childesh at times and sinister at others. And yet he takes me in, and so in turn, I take him in at the communion table -symbolically, as a statement and a reminder that I do not journey alone.
When Jesus was traveling in ministry, one of his trips led him to Jacob’s Well in the Northern Region of Israel. A place reserved for people a long way off from God and His church, at least as far as the jews were concerned. Jesus arrived at the well exhausted from a long journey, John chapter 4 recounts. As he sits low, a woman approaches, and Jesus does the unthinkable: He speaks kindly with her. A woman! And a Samaritan woman at that. Even when the discussion progresses to addressing her own sin, he does so in love and she receives his comments not as an angry judge but a loving savior.
She is a brash, even brazen, outcast. She has the guts to begin a theological debate with what was obviously a Jewish man. This man she would soon not only recognize as a rabbi, but later as the Messiah, was sitting asking her for a drink. She argues the law with him and asks why she has to go to church a certain way or in a certain place.
In the end, that short exchange led to a few days “by the well” where people from all over her village were changed by the gospel, just like her. All because Jesus was willing to sit and be lowly. All because he was willing to receive, listen and care for a woman who was living a life totally outside the approval of the current day’s expectations for “good church people”.
As I stood at the table this past Sunday and waited to serve those who came over, I was overwhelmed with the way God met me in that moment. He gave me prayers to pray for each of them individually. I served some friends communion on Sunday who are in the midst of pain, sin, struggle and some who are experiencing God’s love powerfully and joyfully. I served communion to more than a few outcasts and even a few folks whose sin is so grievous they have been asked to leave other churches. But in that moment Jesus made it very clear they were welcome at His table, and so they are welcome at ours.
As you influence lives this week, and I know you will, be the kind of leader who sits low. Be the kind of leader who extends a hand to those the rest of the world would not. Be the kind of leader who risk reputation to expand God’s Kingdom and his fame in Folsom.