It is good to prepare ourselves for many things. It is unthinking of us and haphazard to just show up. We do this sometimes but to our shame. Sometimes circumstances beyond our control require us to ‘just show up,’ but that should be the exception, not the norm. Some people have a penchant for showing up for just about anything and seldom seem as if they have given even a moment of forethought to the event. They really like that song, “Just as I am.” It has some merit but should ‘just as you were’ perpetually be ‘just as you always are?’
It would be bad manners to come to a meal unprepared. This is true of the most ordinary meals. Wash up, tuck in your shirt, wait for the ladies to sit down. But how much more so for a special occasion? A Thanksgiving feast, the Christmas dinner, an important birthday. Then, the preparations should be even more elaborate. Put on some nice clothes, decorate the room, make sure to ask questions of Suzy on her birthday. We should be constantly looking forward and arriving at places with a sense of preparation, ahead of time, not twenty seconds before or twenty seconds into it.
What we do here, at the Lord's Table, is of the highest importance. We seem to have to use our ordinary meals and special days to inform us how to act here. Really, we should be thinking much better about how to act here and practicing on improving this, so that we know how to act out there.
We ought to come to this meal having prepared. That is the purpose of our service, to prepare us. We go through many steps and think about many things. The right clothes, the right thoughts, the right expectations, the right attitude. And of course, none of this should be on the outside only but what we see on the outside should reflect the reality of what God has done on the inside.
Are you prepared? Did you wash up? Are you minding your manners? If so, then wonderful, we’ll pray and eat presently. And if not, then why not? We gave you plenty of time before calling you to supper. There now, I don’t say that to depress you. Let’s not have any long faces. Sit down and eat anyway. The food is good. The fellowship is splendid. Perhaps the goodness of the meal will make you think more of it the next time you come here to eat. Welcome all.