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thoughts of the congregation prior to taking the Lord’s Supper. He first read an article entitled "Ode to a BBQ Funeral" by Wright Thompson, Oxford American, Issue No. 65. For copyright concerns I have not included the article. The article is about a family celebrating a meal together in honor of a deceased loved one. The deceased had even prepared food in advance of his death to allow his sons to cook “with him” one last time. Randy writes: I love that story. I love how it reminds us how this meal brings us together to remember and to share. But even this vision, as beautiful as it is, is incomplete. It speaks to the past and not my present and not my hope. The week before Mom died we all spent the weekend together. My three brothers and me and all of our families, twelve of us in all, descended upon my parents house. We had a great weekend. The kids played, and my mom cooked. That weekend she and my dad made homemade ice cream. A massive blood clot, three surgeries and a week later and she was gone. After the funeral and after all of the extended family and friends had gone a few of us stayed a couple of more days with my Dad. One night, I was looking through the freezer and in there, next to the three or four country hams that people had brought in accordance with that bizarre yet steadfast southern belief that you can heal a heart by filling a stomach, next to those hams was a tub of the leftover homemade ice cream. I ate all of it. I had to, I couldn't let it just sit there, I needed it. I needed it to remind me of her, I knew it had her hands in it. Her heart and her sweetness were in it, I knew she had prepared it for us because she loved us. I ate it with a desperation, a desperation to feel that love and care again, to hear once again the voice of the one who formed me, who birthed me and named me say that she loved and cared for me still. I want to eat the covenant meal with Christ with that same sort of desperation, and I confess that I don't. I want to come to the table feeling the need for Him, wanting to feel his love and care and for that to be real in the meal this meal and in my life, this meal that was prepared well in advance of me being ready to eat it. That was prepared in anticipation of me needing it. I too often come to the table, to God, full. Full of things that are not Him. I need this meal to draw me closer to you, my family of faith, but I desperately need it to draw me closer to Him. Father, may we empty ourselves before you. Rid us of all that is in us that you have not placed there in your grace and faithfulness. And when we are empty, then fill us. May this bread be all we need and may we be aware that all we need and all we have comes from you. As we fill ourselves with you, help us to discard all that we carry that is not from you.
Father you have given us our daily bread. Now we take this wine and remember the great expanse of the forgiveness you offer us. Make us instruments of your grace to show and offer that forgiveness to all who feel they are beyond your reach. Sustain us with this meal, draw us closer to you and push us out to those who need you most.