We have come to believe; we are convinced that you are the Holy one of God! Jn 6:69
I had some friends earlier this week with whom I was talking over this Gospel pericope and who said to me….
that is great Marty…..are you going to do an altar call?
Are you going to invite the congregation to profess that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior?
My reply was this:
That is a really interesting point of view.
In fact it’s a great question….And I continued….
What’s even more awesome is we do an altar call every week!
He said to me..no way really?
I said yes!!!!!!!
Every week the Priest presider shares these words with the entire community…..
“This is the feast and the table of our God, and if you have been to this table often, away for a while or are joining us for the first time You are invited to receive….for this is the table of radical hospitality for the world and to this table all are welcome.”
And, I continued…
if they accept the invitation to the altar they come!
Isn’t it interesting that our greatest theological debates are not centered on what God has done for us in our lives, but rather on who has decided or who decides the state of someone else’s being.
Our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters will say….If you are a Catholic in good standing you may receive….
some of our Protestant brothers and sisters will say….if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you may receive….
others will say if you have confessed with your lips your debt has been paid and you may receive….
and others say if you have been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…you may receive.
As Old Catholics we believe that God’s embrace, that Gods salvific grace is not controlled by the Church structure,
or by its leaders
or by its believers,
rather, God’s grace is under God’s purview and our task,
in fact our mission,
is to be conduits of that grace to as many as possible
in as many ways as possible.
We bring our gifts to this table…
we bring our lives, our hopes, our dreams our struggles, our disappointments, our brokenness to this altar….
we lay all of it before our God and before one another,
we recall God’s presence throughout history,
we celebrate God’s presence in the here and now
and we invite God’s blessing on the good, the bad and the ugly of our lives
and we break the bread and share the cup trusting in God’s gifting us with hope, and healing, love, and grace.
You see my friends I believe this entire journey is more about our commitment to the journey than it is about our ability to never fall while we are on that journey.
Joshua in the first reading made the commitment that he and his household would be worshiping Yahweh.
Paul reminds us that every relationship is about our commitment to each other
and John reminds us in the Gospel that even when the journey is hard, and mysterious, it is about being committed and trusting that even in our not understanding….God does abide with us.
There has been nothing in these past six weeks that we have been exploring the Bread of Life discourses in the Gospel of John….
absolutely nothing in those discourses that says anything about being qualified or worthy to receive the Bread of Life.
I believe that is because in true holiness there is nothing about being qualified or worthy,
rather it is about being committed to the journey of trying as best we can to live into the holiness in which we were born as children of God.
Saint and Sinner alike…..To this table, all are welcome, and I hope and pray that we share that message with the world.