If you ever find yourself contemplating the original form and intent of the Lord’s Supper, if you ever dare to attempt any kind of communion reform in your church, you might consider an exchange Jesus had with the religious leaders at Levi’s house at the end of Luke 5. I think this passage is very helpful in restoring the communion aspect of communion.
The Gospel tells us Jesus is attending a “great banquet” at the tax collector’s house. Jesus and his disciples were eating and drinking with a large crowd of tax collectors and “others.” A group of religious leaders corner a couple of these disciples to complain and to ask a question:
” Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners?'”
Jesus answers the Pharisees with his line about coming for the sinners, not the righteous. But the teachers of the Law press him further.
“They said to Jesus, ‘John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.'”
We know John’s disciples are religious, they’re saying. We can tell. Just look at them! They’re miserable! Look at our disciples, the sour look on their faces. They’re mad about something, they’ve got to be religious. But your disciples, Jesus, are always eating and drinking and whooping it up. They’re always at a party. What gives?
Jesus answers, look, when the groom shows up, the wedding guests party! God himself has come to the banquet and he’s sitting at your table! Now is not the time to fast! This is not the time to be miserable or by yourself! Now is the time to celebrate! God’s promises are coming true! God is right now dwelling with his people! Now is the time to eat and drink and rejoice!
I know there is a time for silent introspection. Yes, there is a time and a place for private reflection and alone time with God. But it’s not at the table. It’s not at the Lord’s Supper. When we are eating and drinking together, with each other and with our risen Lord, on his day, at his table, where he is present and serving the meal – the Bible says that’s a party.