Disciples like to call that thing that’s up front in the sanctuary a table. Lutherans used to call it an altar, but more and more they’ve started following us and calling it a table. Far more humble and fitting in my view.
Disciples Pastor Lee Yates reminds us that the Table reveals who we really are. If you want to know something about the life of a church, then look how they deal with the table, which means a lot of our churches are in trouble:
While much of our church rhetoric includes the table, I’ve been
thinking a lot lately about our casual conversation around the table.
When people complain that worship is too long, we often point to how
long it takes to serve communion. When we plan a Youth Sunday there is
concern about how the kids serve, making sure they know the proper way
to line up. Deacon and Elder training is often about where to line up
and when to move. Unfortunately, much of our conversation on being
church follows suit.
We talk about numbers and programs. We talk about what music will
attract people to our buildings. We talk about what program will bring
people to our church. We talk about how to structure committees to
better be the church. We talk more about the institution of church than
how to better live out our faith. We worry about numbers and structure
more than passion and purpose. Again, the table reveals who we are.
For Disciples, if something new is going to emerge, it will probably come up at the table.
Since we Disciples place such a centrality on the Lord’s Supper, maybe we need to take a good, hard and long look at how we do communion. Who is it for? Who do we welcome? Who do we exclude?
But I think we also need to examine how we feel about communion. Is this just something we do every Sunday because its been done this way forever and ever? Is it something we want to do, to take part in? Are we reminded about the life death and resurrection of Jesus? Do we leave the table wanting to serve Christ more, or are we waiting to meet up with our friends for lunch or catch the opening of that football game?
“The table reveals who we are.”
Truer words were never spoken.