The welcome is wide

One of my tattoos is of a communion table — a tipped over cup of wine, water, and a loaf of wheat because I imagine the feast of the Lord to be simple, maybe a bit messy, but extraordinary nonetheless.

Today, in Israel, we gathered as a group to have communion together on the Mount of Beatitudes, and when I tell you I sobbed? I SOBBBBED. A group of over 40 of us, all ages and stages of life, from North America and Europe and the Caribbean and a stateless Arminian man who calls Israel home — we all came to the table. We all tasted and saw that the Lord is good. And I cried because it was beautiful, because the very real presence of Christ was in the wheat and wine but also in the wind coming off the sea, in the dirt of the very paths my feet have walked today. And that makes me remember all the more how important an incarnational faith is, how my God is a God who had meat and bones and probably had sore feet after all the walking like I do, who got hungry and tired like I am, who laughed and loved and prayed just like me. Jesus the man came more alive to me today than ever in such an embodied, tactile, tangible, accessible way.

And I also cried because this is what the kingdom of God is like. It is every nation and language and tribe. It is broken people who don’t try to put on appearances but come to the feast because we are hungry and desire our fill. It is sunlight and breeze, sand and grass, in the movement of God at creation that we see still today. It is nearness to God when we mourn, when we make peace, when we show mercy. It is ordinary and holy and community and simple and sacred. I cried because today’s versions of Christianity have diverged so far from this vision in so many ways, and we argue about what elements are appropriate and who can actually partake while all the while Jesus calls to us, “Come! I’ve prepared a place for you, and my welcome is wide — bring everyone!”

I cried, and it was happy, and it was sad, and I am forever changed.