By Stuart Powell
In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, we read about King Saul, who, filled with delusional jealousy and hatred, set out to kill David, whom he feared would take his throne. David escaped to safety and refrained from starting a rebellion. But during his time in exile, many people became connected to the young man who would become the next ruler.
Scripture says, “All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around [David], and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him” (1 Samuel 22:2).
The people who first gathered around David were not the politically ambitious or established religious leaders. Rather, they were people neglected by their culture and threatened by their king. These were the exiles of Saul’s Israel. They went to the son of Jesse. David understood their struggles and their isolation. They were a community of outcasts whom David welcomed, not as subjects but as siblings. He encouraged them. He helped provide for their needs. He showed them a kingdom in which they found God’s words and promises lived out. He didn’t lead them in rebellion against the political system. He led them in the ways of God’s righteousness. He taught them that security is not found in possessions and land, but in God alone.
Generations later, the son of David welcomed the same type of people with the same message about God’s kingdom. Jesus said,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
As we come to the table of Communion, many of us are disconnected. We are separated from family, friends, and fellow believers. Some of us are abandoned by our employers, neighbors, and our government. If you are part of the community of outcasts, Jesus invites you to come to him, the Son of David.
Come to his table and remember Jesus with these emblems. The bread tells us how Jesus replaced the exile brought on by our sin with his gift of family. The cup reminds us that Jesus poured out his life to give us a sweet hope of belonging in place of the bitter dregs of loneliness. Jesus shows us a kingdom in which we find God’s words and promises lived out.
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.