Two of the most unhelpful words whenever you are in the middle of trying to sort out a disagreement are the words “always” and “never.” It’s often the sign of a subtle (or not so subtle) bitterness or resentment that begins sentences like “You always…” or “You never…” And sometimes defensiveness does the same thing the other way around, “I always…” or “I never…” So sometimes when I’m involved in a tense counseling situation, I have been known to tell people that those words are under the ban.
But those words do exist, and they do have good uses. And this table is one of those places where we can learn how to use them well. Here at this table, God speaks the words “always” and “never” in wonderful ways. For example, here at this table God says that He will never bring up your sins from your past that have been forgiven. He will never hold them against you. Because of the broken body and shed blood of His Son, God has cast our sins into the deepest sea. He has removed them as far as the east is from the west, and He remembers them no more.
And because of this, because God has taken away your sins, He will never leave you or forsake you. God will always receive you for the sake of Christ. He will never have a bad day. He is never moody or grumpy. God is always faithful. He is always good. He always welcomes you here.
So notice that God uses the words “always” and “never” as words of love and of promise. And so this is how we should learn to use them as well. Since God will never leave us and promises to always receive us for the sake of Christ, we should be loyal to one another in the Lord like that. And even though we do sin and fail, we are invited to see Christ in one another, to forgive one another as we have been forgiven, and to hold fast to one another in Christ, who will never leave us, who is always faithful, who is always good.
So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.