A Real Mess
Soldiers gather to eat in mess halls or mess tents. In this setting, the word “mess” does not refer to clutter or disarray, though it may eventually look that way. Mess comes from an old French word, mes, meaning “portion of food” or “meal.” The French word comes from the Latin participle missum meaning “something put on the table.” “Mess” eventually appeared in English during the 13th century identified with “liquid or cooked dishes, like soup or porridge. And by the 15th century, the same word ‘mess’ was used to describe any group of people who dined together.” See here for more info.
As Christian soldiers we come to the Lord’s Table for strengthening. The mess of food, the portion before us, is Christ Himself. We eat His body and drink His blood by faith and for faith. We believe that Christ alone saves and we go away ready to work and battle even more on His behalf.
Our mess hall, so to speak, centers on the portion on the table. It also is about us; we are a mess, in both the 15th and 21st century senses of the word. We gather together as fellow soldiers to eat this common portion, and we are often a difficult, sad, and sinning bunch. We doubt and our faith gets weak. We are troubled and we trouble one another. But Jesus has done something about the mess. He gave Himself for us on the cross.
We may not be in the same unit, but we are in the same battle wearing the same colors. There is camaraderie around His Table because we hold something in common, we have communion in and with Him. Christ is our mess–our portion of food, that cleans our mess–our separation from Him as well as from one another. It is a meal of supernatural uniting and strengthening of His army.