From the Inside Out
Today's writer, Niger Woodruff, reflects on the way the Holy Spirit unites us with God and each other at the Lord's Table.
A crowd of some of the poorest people in Nashville, Tennessee greeted me on my first day in a new pastoral appointment. Dressed in well-worn skin, tattered jeans, and torn t-shirts, the hungry and thirsty welcomed me to the table. As I sat having delightful conversation with them, these women and men who were strangers to me felt like neighbors and friends in only a matter of minutes. As our smiles widened and laughter got louder and louder, few, if any, were aware that I was the new pastor.
When it came time for morning devotion, I stood up tall and said, "Good morning everyone. I have yet to meet some of you, but I hope to get around to you as we eat lunch together so that I can learn your names. I am Niger Woodruff, the new pastor." The room went silent. Jaws dropped! "I’m glad to be here with you today because when I woke up this morning I decided to get dressed and come down here for one reason — to know God and Jesus Christ. But to my surprise, when I walked through the door, there you were." Jaws dropped again!
"But as soon as I saw you the Holy Spirit reminded me that you are created in the image and likeness of God. So as I look at you now I know whom it is that I see. I wonder, who do you see whenever you look in the mirror? Who is it that you see when you look around at all the people seated at the table with you? As we prepare to feast on the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation, you may believe that you are not good enough to take Communion. The thing is, we don't take Communion. We receive. And every time we receive the gift of God into ourselves, when we eat this bread and drink from this cup, God goes to work on us from the inside out so that what's on the outside of us will look more and more like what's on the inside of Jesus.
“So I don't know about you, but I know that I am just bad enough to need some more of God in me. God so loved the world that he gave. Receive the gift God gives for you. And so, we remember, that on the night in which Jesus gave himself up for us, he took bread..."
Thanks be to God. Amen.
— Niger Woodruff