Our fellowship around the communion table is in faith. What we have in common is Christ, and how we hold onto Him is also the same: by faith.
Because we rely on Jesus, when we gather around the table we like to tell stories about those who lived (and died) by faith.
I love how tired the author of Hebrews got when giving history to his readers about those “of whom the world was not worthy.” The writer got through a lot of specific stories, from Abel and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and Moses and others. But then he either was running out of papyrus or patience.
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. (Hebrews 11:32–34)
They did their work in the world ”through faith.”
But this isn’t the only way to live in the world through faith.
Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (Hebrews 11:35–38)
By faith we do stuff. We try to win, and sometimes we do when God gives the victory. We try to win, and sometimes we don’t when God grants us not only to believe in Christ but also suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:29). We try to win, and sometimes, the way of victory is to die to bring life, the story we remember at the Lord’s Table.