This table is for sinners. This meal is not for good people. This bread is not for people who have their act together. This wine is not for people who have never made enormous mistakes. No, this bread is broken because Jesus was broken for the broken. This wine is His blood because Jesus bled for the guilty. We do not gather here at this table as the top of the class, as the winners, the success stories, the clean, the innocent, the popular, the good looking. No, we are here as the failures, the losers, the guilty, the outcasts, the rejected, the ugly.
There are any number of ways we could get the idea of a new building wrong. As we prepare for this new stage in our story as TRC, we should be thinking and praying about the ways we will be tempted. One danger is the temptation that we will think we have arrived, that we are now a respectable church, full of good, squeaky clean people. Yes, we are a forgiven people. Yes, by the grace of God, we are healed and healing people. Yes, we have been given many blessings. But if we understand who we are in the light of God’s grace, we have to constantly remember where we have come from and how far we have to go.
When Israel went into the promised land, one of the feasts they began celebrating was the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles. They would cut down palm branches and make tents and camp out and feast for a week. They did this every year to remember that they camped out in tents for forty years in the wilderness. They did this to remember who they were and where they had come from. Palm Sunday probably alludes to this Feast in some measure, and so as you remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem through the palm branches, remember Israel in the wilderness and remember that you are here by the grace of God.
We are the hard-hearted, the slow learners, the stubborn, the liars, the fools, the broken, the users and abusers, all we like sheep have gone astray, and Jesus invites us anyway. Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.