The mourning over our sin as we partake is real. It should be genuine. But it is there to serve as the backdrop for the joy of our forgiveness. Our sorrow is the black velvet upon which is placed the diamond of our rescue; our despair is the black velvet upon which is placed, in the bread and the wine, the Pearl of Great Price. The glory of the gospel is that no matter how close the darkness of our sin is, His grace shines brighter still.
When we come to the table, we come confessing that we do not indeed seek first the kingdom of God. We build our own kingdoms. We go to war with our brothers for the sake of our kingdoms—as they go to war with us for the sake of their kingdoms. We sin not only against the living God but against each other. But we come to the table together, as family. We have, in coming, shared that confession. Our elder Brother, however, confesses not His sin but His righteousness for us. He gives us His righteousness, and we are brought into the family.
When we miss out on the mourning, we miss out on the joy. When we see our sins as small, we see His rescue as small. At the table, we are to draw near to our sin, because in doing so, we draw near to Him. He is there where our sin is, covering it. He is there, giving us His garments of sparkling white, the robes of His righteousness.
Of course, it is true that we are always the children of God. We are always forgiven, always adopted. At the table, however, we go to remember, to taste, to feast upon these truths. There we find, not just in the midst of our mourning but precisely because of our mourning, the joy that we have sought in all the wrong places.
Of course, it is true that we are always the bride of Christ. We are always with Him, always beloved of Him. At the table, however, we go to remember, to taste, to feast upon these truths. There, because we remember that we broke His body and spilled His blood, we move forward with hope to the marriage feast of the Lamb. There we dance with Him.
We do not observe or keep the sacrament. Instead, we draw near to our King, brother, husband. Instead, we celebrate. Instead, we embrace joy in the mourning. And we remember that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.