And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. 1 Kings 19:5-8
One day removed from witnessing God’s triumph over the prophets of Baal, Elijah lay down under the broom tree ready to die. He was overwhelmed by fear and doubt and felt that he could not continue on in his journey. The Lord sent an angel to feed Elijah so that he might have the strength that he needs in the midst of this time of crisis. Elijah is invited to this sacred meal where the true God is host and provides to him this comfort food.
During the distribution of the Lord’s Supper, most people only see a line of people coming forward one after another. But as a parish pastor distributing the Lord’s Supper, I was blessed to see many come forward to receive the Lord’s Supper with hands shaking or eyes welling up with tears or at times not even willing to look up. Each week our church pews are filled with people who are overwhelmed by life. For those who are overcome by guilt or fear, our Lord invites them to get up and eat as He presides at a sacred meal with the ultimate comfort food as He gives to us His body and blood under the bread and wine for hurting sinners to eat and drink. Our Lord invites us in all of our hurt and brokenness to come to His feast and by which He gives to us the finest fare, Himself.
In the Lord’s Supper, God also gives to us a foretaste of the feast that awaits us in heaven. For what we have to look forward to in the great marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom is the joy of being in the Lord’s presence and the removal of all the effects of sin. But until we reach the great feast in heaven, we are blessed to receive our Lord’s presence in His Holy Supper. We have all known days like Elijah felt. Thanks be to God that our Lord feeds us with the comfort food of Holy Communion for the strength that we need for our journey.
Prayer – O God the Father, the fountain and source of all goodness, who in loving-kindness sent Your only-begotten Son into the flesh, we thank You that for His sake You have given us pardon and peace in this Sacrament, and we ask You not to forsake Your children but always to rule our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that we may be enabled constantly to serve You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan