The world is at war because it is dying to be at peace. We can enter the fray or we can be His fellowship.
We are the sustained. In Hebrew the word is ‘samekh’ meaning “to be supported, to be deputized or to be awakened.” As the sustained, we go to take sustenance to others because we are for each other.
If this is true, that we are for each other, we may just discover a place of worship together that we have not yet known. The word for this strain of worship is ‘Shachah’ and means, “to fall or bow in recognition that God is for you.”
In Chapter 5 of Joshua, verses 13-15, a very significant encounter is recorded:
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.”
Joshua, at this time was considered an invader in a foreign land. A land filled with warriors determined to fight to stay where they were. To not be moved. He boldly approached the warrior before him to discover his intentions.
His question could easily be stated “Are you for me?” Ours to each other could be the same.
We are after all, unusual warriors, whose journey is not about what we can take, but who we can find.
And when we find each other, when we are found, we ‘shachah’ in reverence that in a weary, wonky world, there is FOR. We know how fully He is for us, as we discover we are found by and in each other. .
Shachah is a picture of humility before the God of everything who doesn’t withhold anything. Even us. The boldy given who bravely go. Wondered warriors find the faltering, floundering and forgetting and lead them to fellowship.
Shachah is spelled shin-chet-hey.
‘Shin’ is a letter Pappa uses to identify Himself.
‘Chet’ is a pictograph of a place of protection or refuge, a sanctuary or inner room.
‘Hey’ is the picture of outstretched arms and means “to behold, to look up, or to pay attention to what follows.”
What follows is the fellowship of broken bread and warm wine.
A meal itself is worship. We have been broken by the knowledge of evil, but we are restored to interconnectedness with of all creation, when we feast. When we turn to tables. The feast is a place where peace is made. He sets a table for us in the presence of our enemies. Not to flaunt, but to find. His table is set with delicacy and delight, right along with the expectancy of reconciliation.
What matters most is who we are present with and Who we are in the presence of.
Adam and Eve undressed creation. They took the fig to dress themselves. What was meant to sustain them, they used to fulfill their cravings instead of His desire. They simply forgot they were made for relationship with Him, each other, creation and their bodies. They stopped resting in relationship.
Eve stopped seeing herself as a delight, when she began to see herself as dimpled or marked by the world. Her womb became an armory. Adam stopped meeting with God, at appointed times, in the cool of the day. One small meal brought death, but a feast resurrects life. When we reveal who sustains us, what was divided can be drawn together again. At the well, along the way and with wonder.
In the Garden, they ceased to hunger after God alone. And the sacred became separated.
Christ’s death brought life back. He reconciles, He provides and He communes. We carry that Christ life within us. Feasting together is central to the covenant of creation because it restores its cadence.
To feast reveals a pattern. It is a place for us to share Him and learn from each other. We are His best parchment and pen. No inked paper with information can write over what we can reveal. We reveal humanity and its brokenness. Grace and its wholeness. There we hope for a new creation instead of jumping for justice.
At the table, we move from emotion to motion. We move towards.
We can adorn and embellish each other. When we are sustained together, we are in unity with all of creation. And the Tree of Life blooms. Its leaves heal. Its seeds spread. Its fruit draws.
Feasting together is a language that tells the story of how He moves, how we are moved and of relationships and revelation. Feasts make time for our space. With each, stories tell, new meaning comes. We see differently then and we delight.
Jesus took the already established Passover meal and enlivened it. He then called His disciples to carry His memory through ministered meals. Body and blood. Communion. When we eat, drink and feed, the creation that is broken deep and divided wide, is restored. The Son of man did, after all, come eating and drinking.
He called us to eat in remembrance of Him, to remember Him and to be re-membered.
When we are moved, what will we take?
To share the romance of a meal, might just cause us all to come to our senses. There is a vulnerability to invite another to share Him, with us. We are also sharing our time and provision. And our need. Eating fills our most vital need. When we come together, we acknowledge that we have need. Need of Him and of each other. Our need is not economic. It is an expression. An expression of Him, our great wealth.
Jesus ministered over plate and platter.
The Tree of Life blooms when we are host and guest. For there are refugees and returns among us. In the midst of us. We can speak as though God is present with us, abiding at our table.
The meal, the eucharist is not meant to be separate from worship. For worship is meant to build relationship, isn’t it? He is relational. He is relationship. Ever moving. Ever moving us.
The feast forward allows others to see Who we worship and how we worship Him. When we move, we are the motioned church. Basketed and bold. We can touch each others wounds and be changed forever.
Jesus said in the crevice before the cross, “Do this whenever you are together. Do this and remember me.”
When we are vulnerable before God and each other, we have much to share. We can share ourselves. Our hopes and dreams. Our fears and needs. The one who tends and nurtures and nourishes is already there.
For the feast to be full, it must find all the senses. Just as intimacy does. Is intended to. The feast leaves no one out. It is an experience and exploration of the deepest intimacy. Age and gender need not apply. It addresses the need of the world for intimacy, that the world seeks in places that can’t provide it. We can touch each other, wounded and wondrous.
The feast returns us to being one. One in body, through the broken and blood of Jesus. The majesty of His marrow pours out. This is not the place we determine why someone cannot have Jesus. If we do, how can we be Jesus?
We are sacred and secular sojourners.
He draws community close, when we show up. When we come eating and drinking. Singing, dancing and praying. When we respond to wounds instead of react. When we are present with His presence.
We keep and till. We dress and delight as we feast and find. Humanity is held and holy.
We are, after all, portable praise. His remembered presence and faithfulness was declared every time the Israelites set up camp. We do the same when we unpack our baskets piece by piece. Portion by portion. We can be an ark to preserve each other. A place from which we rise. Are proofed. We are baskets of breath. Flesh and bone, that builds.
Even as we enjoy the harvest, we plant seeds. We gardeners who stand and watch as His mysteries unfold. We aren’t different, we are just abundant with His mysteries.
We must unpack our tabernacles. We can’t improve on the meal made on a cross shaped table, but we can offer it. Again and again. He offers home to those who trust God and those that don’t know how beautiful it is to exist and believe Him. We share home in the presence of God.
When we share, we have no need to demand.
At the table, we can share our faith and see our suffering. When bread is broken, eyes are opened.
Our bodies desire the motion of this. To linger in the liturgy of kneel and bow. Of celebrate and conversation.