Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Saints and The Great Feast of Heaven

Remembering My Mother at the Table

When we come to the table, we feast with Christians far and near as well as Christians past and future. We find a profound and mystical connection around the bread and cup and are drawn together in ways that foreshadow the great feast of heaven. All pain and division is set aside, just for a moment. We become one.

As I look forward to the celebration of "All Saints" tomorrow, I am reminded of one of my most precious memories around the eucharist. It was just a few Sundays after my mother died in 2003 and we were gathered around a communion table that had been hand crafted by a church member in memory of my mother. I finished serving the Morningstar UMC congregation communion and I turned to walk back up the steps and return the bread and cup to the table.

In a flash, in my mind's eye, I saw a vast choir seated around the table. I noticed my mother's face in the crowd, in the midst of the section to my right, smiling at me. I was so startled, I almost tripped on the steps. Then it was gone.

Call it a vision or call it imagination, but for me, it was a moment of great healing and insight. The wedding feast, where all are welcome, is one of the most vivid scriptural metaphors for the kingdom of God. Each time we come to the table, we experience what the old hymn calls "a foretaste of glory divine!"