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Book, Bath, Table, and Time

God is always present. However, God has also promised to be present in a special way in particular ways.

First, God has promised to meet us at the Book. “The Book” is that library of 66 (or so) books, letters, poems, gospels, and more that we call Bible. We keep reading these writings because we believe that the writers know something that we do not. We keep reading because we believe that they are God’s own Word.

Second, God is revealed at the Bath. “The Bath” is that bowl, pool, pond, stream, or lake where persons die to sin and death while being reborn to new life in Jesus Christ. We baptize and remember our baptism not simply because it is fun to get wet, but because the act of baptism is the foundation of our life together because in baptism God acts for our benefit in calling us his own.

Third, God has promised to meet us at the Table. “The Table” is that setting of the most common meal elements of bread and wine (most of the time in our case, the unfermented variety) where God meets us in the body and blood of Jesus Christ. At the Table, we remember and give thanks for the mighty and good acts of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. At the Table, we experience a holy mystery as God is really present.

Finally, God has promised to meet us in time. Christians mark time a bit different from our neighbors as we meet weekly on the Lord’s Day. Sunday morning is experienced as the eighth day of the week, a time of “now, and not yet,” the last day of the old creation and the first day of the new creation, the day of Resurrection. These Sunday’s are organized into seasons that center on the great cycles of Advent-Christmas and Lent-Easter. With this marking of time, we remember that God has acted in time, at particular times, in particular ways, with particular people. God has not acted “in principal” but “in history”, that is in space and time. The Book, Bath, and Table are those definitive “spaces” where God has acted in “time.” God actually did stuff. And through the marking of time and, though being present at the Book, Bath, and Table, we habitually remember and give thanks for God’s mighty and good deeds in the past, in the present and in the future.

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