An Open Table with No Menu

"My point is this: More important than “getting right” the practice of the Eucharist on Sunday is our willingness to dine with sinful and marginalized people on Monday. I heard someone say recently that our celebration of the Lord’s Table on Sunday is practice for the openness of our own tables on Monday. In those radical acts of hospitality, our plain, store-bought dinner tables mysteriously transubstantiate into a Jesus Table, and our meal into the Lord’s Supper."

(Click on the title link for the whole article)

There is a certain tension to the Lord's Supper.

It really is something that needs to be held in esteem. Paul is clear that it is not something to take lightly. There is a holiness that pervades it, and it is not open to tinkering. The early church was very strict in who they allowed to participate in the ritual meal, and withholding access to the Table was considered a form of significant discipline.

Yet, it is also in keeping with the nature of the church to invite sinners to participate in the very life of God. We are not to prevent the little children from playing with Jesus, nor are we to prevent the dogs from eating the leftovers from the King's Table.


Both of these impulses go back to our earliest Christian memories...

There was a unique quality about meals with Jesus, sharing bread with the Rabbi. It was a special occasion to eat with him, but even more so when he spoke those words over the broken bread and poured wine. A sense of depth and purpose was there at that final meal...

At the same time, Jesus was famous for eating with all of the wrong sorts of people. This is in a culture where eating with a person was a sign of solidarity and companionship. His accusers called him a friend of sinners, a drunk, and a glutton.

It is almost as though Jesus intended these meals as a way of inviting unholy people to come and share in holiness...


With this in mind, we try to make our weekly time of communion a recognition of both the holiness of the presence of Jesus, and an openness to all who would wish to participate. We tell people, "If you want this, it is for you. No matter who you are or what you have done, you can eat what is on this table. But, don't eat what is on the table if you don't want to. If you committed horrific sins last night, come and eat; if you are planning on committing sins tomorrow, then wait."

So perhaps a way to approach the table is to think of it as a table where all are welcome, but only Jesus gets to chose what is being served. If you want to eat what He is cooking, then come and get it!

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