Come As You Are

April 1, 2009 | 14 comments


I needed cups: 35 of them. Each one different from the other.

I searched the china cupboard and found a goblet given as a wedding gift. I grabbed my favorite wine glass, then another standing beside it: a handpainted gift from a friend.

I retrieved a child’s yellow smiley-face cup, and a Minnie Mouse glass, and a plastic, disposable cup perfect for lemonade.

I grabbed more goblets from forgotten shelves, and discovered wine glasses in out-of-reach cupboards. I borrowed from the pile headed for the consignment shop.

I admired the mismatched assemble. No two alike.

Yes, these would do perfectly at a table of grace.

***

In the opening scene of the Old Testament Book of Esther, the king “displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory” of his own majesty. He ended his party with a seven-day banquet in his palace gardens.

White and blue linens hung from marble pillars. Guests admired a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl. Would the king’s guests dare sit on the couches of gold and silver?

Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other.

It was a moment of extravagance — with luxuries of great cost at the King’s expense.

What would that be like?

***


Our party would take place here, at the foot of the cross, at the front of my country church.

I placed each goblet and cup on the altar.

Styrofoam beside crystal …
Handmade pottery beside Minnie cup …

The women would be here soon, 35 of us in all. We represent many ages, backgrounds, church denominations. This was our last night together, and we’d come “for such a time as this.”

We have spent the last 10 weeks studying the book of Esther. And on this night, we would celebrate our last hour here with a party — not a 180-day feast for a king’s majesty, but an eternal celebration of The King’s majesty.

A buffet of goblets, each different from the other, looked breathtaking here, at the foot of the cross. Dare I say, even more spectacular than the feast of King Xerxes?

I poured wine in some goblets, grape juice in others. We had come from different church traditions, but here at the table of grace, the treasure in each cup was One and The Same — even if it tasted different.

O, such extravagance displayed within each cup — God’s riches given to us, at the immeasurable expense of the King.

The candlelit room filled with women, single-file, each taking a piece of bread and a cup.

The body of Christ, given for you. The blood of Christ, shed for you.
The body of Christ, given for you. The blood of Christ, shed for you.

Like the cups, each woman was different from the other. No matter their hurt, their past, their shame, their sorrow, their sin. No matter if they felt sparkling and new — like a crystal goblet — or chipped and fragile. No matter if they’d ever felt forgotten, or disposable, or underappreciated.

All were welcome here.

Our host, King Jesus, said: “Come just as you are.”

But He promised He’d never leave us that way.

by | April 1, 2009 | 14 comments

14 Comments

  1. Linda

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Love the pictures.

    Reply
  2. Alleluiabelle

    OH my, my, my, my, my. What a beautiful site. What a beautiful gathering. What a beautiful Lord!

    Again, I’m filled to the brim here, and you made me feel like I was a part of the gathering. How awesome is that?

    Thank you Jennifer. Thank you.

    Love you dear friend,
    Alleluiabelle

    Reply
  3. mom2six

    So grateful He beckons us to come as we are, then by His amazing grace and power, His Spirit, He doesn’t leave us there. How comforting that it is all His work in us for His glory. Beautiful post! In Jesus, Nancy

    Reply
  4. Lyla Lindquist

    From Minnie Mouse to finest crystal . . . chipped and cracked or sparkling . . . from the goofiest among us to the most elegant . . . weak and wounded or strong . . . His grace comes to each of us and pours back out from any one of us. Thanks for this. Wonderful picture of how we come to Him and He comes to us.

    Reply
  5. Billy Coffey

    Wonderful, vivid pictures. I felt like I was there, too.

    At the table of grace, I am the styrofoam cup surrounded by others both stronger and more beautiful. But I am still at the table, and glad to be.

    Reply
  6. Jean

    Each of us a unique creation of the Master.

    Our host, King Jesus, said: “Come just as you are.”

    But He promised He’d never leave us that way.

    PTL! I’m so glad of that fact. I’m not what I ought to be, but I’m not what I used to be either!

    Jean
    http://www.jeanmatthewhall.blogspot.com

    Reply
  7. sharilyn

    beautifully done. beautifully written. wonderfully received. thanks, jennifer…

    Reply
  8. nAncY

    good sharing, thanks.

    Reply
  9. valerie lynn

    What a beautiful way to take communion! I am at a loss for words as your post took my breath away! Praise the Lord!

    Reply
  10. elaine @ peace for the journey

    What a stunning conclusion to an awesome study! To break bread with your sisters after such “a season as this” of Bible study. We have two more weeks to go in our Esther study. We always finish our studies with a potluck. We had communion a few times, but we have a few Catholic sisters who couldn’t participate. Thus, we went to our common meal.

    I love studying the Word of God with these women. We’ve grown a lot over the five years of “doing life” with one another. I consider it my privilege to be yoked alongside them in this season of my journey.

    God bless you and your 35 as you depart and then come together again for another dip into the Word.

    peace~elaine

    Reply
  11. lynnrush

    Nice!!!

    Reply
  12. L.L. Barkat

    Cups. Filled, emptied, clasped, edge-kissed cups. Beautiful.

    Reply
  13. Chrissy

    what a great idea. You’ve inspired me to start a womens study in our church.. when we have one 🙂 Wish I could have shared with you at the Lord’s table. someday again soon…

    Reply
  14. Laura

    Jennifer!

    I’m so glad you came to see me, at such a time as this…

    Thirty-five! How blessed you were to share the story of Esther with so many women. It was a special time, no?

    I’m more than a little sad that it is over. 🙁

    It’s tough being a woman when the Bible study ends…

    :)Laura

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest