It’s the last place you’d look for a powerful action. It’s the last place you’d expect to have to be brave. You walk a few steps from your seat, following the crowd. You eat a small bite of food, you swallow a sip of drink. You return, you sit, and the world carries on as normal.
You’ve just been part of one of the most subversive acts of defiance to happen in the world. And you’ll do it again next week.
Uninvited, it’s a move of unprecedented arrogance. To stand up and take part in this, this sacred mouthful, this understated, under-appreciated moment of communion with the one and the all and the everything. It’s a privilege you never feel worthy of.
But each time you think you can’t do it again, the words beckon you to come.
‘All you who are weary.’
‘Not because you must but because you may.’
‘Because you love the Lord a little and would like to love him more.’
These are the words that pierce the wall you’ve built this week and dare you to stand and come again.
There’s every reason not to.
The doubt, it should stop you. Surely you, struggling to believe your cries are travelling further than the bedroom ceiling, are not welcome here.
The apathy, it should drain you. Surely you, who turns away from your own good resolutions in favour of the easy and the comfortable, are not welcome here.
The pain, it should blur your vision. Surely you, who can’t see beyond the salty water collecting in your own eyes, are not welcome here.
The mistakes, they should pin you to the chair. Surely you, having done it again and again… and yet again, are not welcome here.
The frustration, it should harden you. Surely you, torn between exhaustion and stubborn persistence, are not welcome here.
The isolation, it should trap you. Surely you, failing at mercy and patience and understanding for those you most long to be close to, are not welcome here.
The demons, they should persuade you. Surely you, hearing and believing their every whisper, will never dare to believe you are welcome here.
But with every shaky step, with trembling hands outstretched, you defy it all. As you swallow before you can chew, and feel the burn at the back of your throat, and croak out your Amen, you defy it all.
It takes all your courage to receive. But this table is for you. This table is for all.