It’s amazing how gathering around a table and sharing food brings people closer together. Family dinners were always a thing for me growing up. I have four siblings, so five kids, and a big table. I remember all of them. The wooden one with leaves you could add or subtract depending on the size of the crowd. The glass and chrome one that made a brief appearance in the mid to late 80s that was constantly smeared and in need of windex, and the beautiful lengthy wood one carefully chosen at a place called “The Door Store” (go figure) that easily accommodated 8.
Creating space at a table invites people to be included in a shared experience and the incarnational aspects of eating and feeding our physical bodies in unison has the potential to point to things far greater. I can’t help but think of the table of grace that is The Lord’s Supper. In the Wesleyan tradition we practice and “open table” meaning that everyone is invited to the table. There are no prerequisites. You do not have to be a church member or even have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. The Lord’s Supper, is real physical bread and wine (juice) that we eat and drink, however it points to something far beyond itself, the love God has demonstrated to the world through Christ. This love is not exclusive but remarkably and immeasurably inclusive.
As a kid we had our “places” at the table. If a friend came over we would add another chair and scooch them in next to us. If a parent was missing, inevitably one of my older brothers would move into that space, but not without a fight. 🙂 The beauty of the Lord’s Table is that there is room for everyone. At this meal of grace all are welcome. Just as “Christ died for us while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8) you do not have to clean up to come, just come. The beauty of this invitation is an encounter with Christ that invites people to come back for more, seconds and thirds, to not just come to your place at the table, but to be changed by the invitation, the communion with Christ and others seeking him and to claim your place by claiming what God has done for us in and through Christ. John Wesley, the man who began the Methodist movement, referred to the Lord’s Supper as a converting sacrament, meaning that participating in it had the potential to lead to conversion or a profession of faith.
What kind of table do you share meals at most? Is there room for more?
How have you experienced the inclusion that the Lord’s Table invites you to? Have you?
A blessing: God thank you for your love made real to us in Jesus Christ and for the place you have invited all of us to meet you and commune with you in the Lord’s Supper. Amen. Let’s eat!