Paul can be a hard case:  blaming illness and death in the community on coming unworthily to the table.  It feels a lot like blaming the victim or the patient.  And it resulted, historically, in my church, in most members (for many years) receiving communion (at most) once or twice a year.

That’s really putting the fear of God in us!

So I like Luther’s take (if I understand it) that knowing and feeling your need of the sacrament is coming worthily to the table.

And I like Anne’s take even better:  Isn’t it precisely when you come unworthily to the table that you most need to be there and be fed and graced by God?

By definition we are not, will never be, cannot be worthy, in ourselves, to come into God’s presence.  Which I think is why Jesus calls us home … invites us to the feast.

I remember Anthony Bloom writing about a young man who came to him because he wanted to see God face to face.  Bloom read him the story of the woman taken in adultery (from John’s gospel) and asked him who he was in the story.

The young man answered that he was the one who picked up a stone and threw it at the woman.

Bloom told him to thank God that he had never come face to face with God.  Because coming into God’s presence is always a time of judgement, and he was not ready.

And so I come as the woman came to Jesus, an adulterer, hoping always for mercy and grace as I face judgement.

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