The Table of the Lord
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Psalm 23:5
Oh how the Good Shepherd cares for His flock. As David reaches the crescendo of the Shepherd’s Psalm he uses imagery of following the Good Shepherd through life and happening upon a banquet prepared before him. The Shepherd meets him and anoints him with oil, the seal of sanctification and symbol of the Holy Spirit. And he drinks from an ever-filled chalice. Prophetically envisioning the sufficiency of the blood of Christ to pardon and save each and every person who comes to Him for all time and of which we partake at the Eucharist remembering what Christ said, “The chalice is my blood…”
Did David see all this as he was writing this beautiful song? I don’t know. But the early church fathers including Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea (263-339 AD,) saw the parallel as obvious. “In these lines the Word clearly designates the sacramental unction (anointing) and the holy sacrifice of Christ’s table.”
The message, dear one, is not simply that David saw a picture of the life of one following Christ, the Good Shepherd, and wrote it down. But more so, that our Shepherd is alive and active in the world today. He is leading His flock, He is preparing sustenance and protecting, He is placing His seal on each one that turns to Him by faith – and, importantly, He is hosting a celestial feast at each celebration of communion (Eucharist), in the Bread and the Cup.
Are you meeting Him there? Regularly? Or are you in a tradition that has relegated this most precious sacrament to an occasional event. Taking communion out of our churches is like taking prayer out of our schools. The very experience we really need for true community with Christ and His body is replaced by programming and feel-good nonsense. Woe to us. By God’s grace may Davids message cause a return to the mystical, beautiful life of the body and the table of the Lord.