Someday, we will feast in radiance at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-8)! Until then we often come to the table in clothes that are torn or stained. But we come hungry, nonetheless, needing the nourishment that is offered at the Lord’s Supper.
When we come to the table with stained clothes, and surrounded by others who do not yet shine as they ought, our participation must be an act of repentance and faith. It brings sorrow as well as humble gratitude. These emotions are shared yet deeply personal. My mother expresses some of these emotions in the following poem.
God bless you as you read—and as you eat of Christ’s flesh and drink of his blood. He can wash your garments anew as you partake of his feast (1 John 1:9).
Before Jesus died, He prayed that we who believe in Him might all be one. He left us a memorial service with emblems that typify unity and oneness. But sadly his followers have experienced disunity and division for centuries. How do we approach His table when our local body is not experiencing the communion of heart that we long for or when members have been torn away from fellowship?
I have felt betrayed at times as part of the body of Christ. I have come to the Communion table with a broken heart. But it is good for me to remember the first Lord’s Supper and what happened that night. That was the night that Jesus was betrayed into the hands of sinners—betrayed all the way to the cross. It is His body that is broken again and again when His church on earth does not experience peace. And most personally—it is crucial for me to focus on the humbling truth that it was my sins that sent Jesus to the cross. Even if there had been no other sinners to be saved, my sins were great enough to demand a Calvary, and Jesus’ love was great enough that He would have died for love of me alone.
It is my own heart I examine as I approach the table. It is my own betrayal of Christ that I acknowledge, and my own gratitude for His forgiving sacrifice that I celebrate.
–Elaine Gingrich, November 13, 2015
A TRAITOR COMES TO THE TABLE
The very night He was betrayed
Our Lord took bread and wine–
These earthy emblems, common food,
Embodied the divine.
A perfect body, perfect life
Was given to be broken.
With longing He embraced the cross
Where His love would be spoken.
The hand of him who will betray
Is with me on the table.
He hands the bread to me to eat!
“Oh Lord, I am not able!”
My sins betrayed the Holy One
To sacrificial death.
Forgiveness flowed from wounds and words
Until His dying breath.
A living bread, a bleeding bread.
My flesh gives life to you.
I, the betrayer, take and eat
And find His offer true.
—Elaine Gingrich, November 18, 2007, Communion Sunday
For the rest of the poems in this monthly series, see here.
And if you enjoyed this poem, leave a comment here for Mom, or send her an email at . Thanks!
4 thoughts on “A Traitor Comes to the Table [Poem by Mom]”
Thank you for sharing this heart-wrenching poem. We have all been guilty of being the betrayer… Makes me realize all over again the true reason for Communion. It was because of MY sin that His body was broken. And despite my sin, He still allows me to commune with Him because HE provided the way. We must somehow keep that at the forefront of our focus in Communion.
Thank you for your comments. Yes, it is the heart of the gospel that we must always keep in focus. Our enemy wants to divert us with distractions, disagreements and disappointments, but let’s not lose the wonder and the humble worship that our Lord intended at His table.
It was not so much the poem but what you wrote above it that spoke to me.
Thank you again, Elaine. I need this reminder of my unworthiness, lest I take advantage of and forget the blessing of grace.