Sunday, March 2, 2008

Come To The Table???

Several weeks ago, I read a book by John Mark Hicks with that title, "Come To The Table." Excellent work. It examines and questions the way that we, as a church, participate in communion, by studying not only the example we have of Christ instituting the Lord's Supper and Paul's instructions to the Corinthian church; it also looks at the ministry of Jesus through the eyes of Luke. Hicks takes you through all the examples that Luke gives us of Jesus at the table, eating with people.

Ever since I read this book, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Although the main point of the book was to revision the practice of the Lord's Supper, what has stayed with me is the idea of the fellowship that is experienced there...or in any table setting, for that matter. Perhaps this is prominent in my mind because of the intense fellowship-building that I have experienced, just within my singles group, over the past couple of months. I've spent time with people, talked with people, and, yes, eaten with people that I had never really interacted with before.

Just a month ago, our singles group met to discuss a future direction for our group to take...some things that we as a group would like to accomplish in order to meet our main goals of being a place where people can belong, grow, and serve. What was the number one thing suggested???

More potlucks.

Even just this afternoon, I was blessed to be invited to the table of the guy that teaches our Sunday morning class. He's someone I hadn't had much interaction with. We'd exchanged a couple of messages about his class that he's teaching. He's posted on each of the lessons on our singles website, and I've asked questions about the material that he's answered for me. I'm still not quite sure how we so quickly went from, "I'm really enjoying your study of Paul. It made my small group's reading of Galatians more interesting and meaningful for me..." to "We want to invite your small group Bible study friends to lunch this Sunday." So it took me a little by surprise, but I was very excited to have the opportunity to come to his table and visit with him.

He warned us before we came that their house was "sort of a controlled-chaos affair. Four kids, ages 13, 11, 9, and 6 will do that to you!" Nevertheless, the experience was an incredible blessing. His kids were awesome. He and his wife, whom I'd had almost no interaction with before, are so genuine, and that's refreshing. So I was able to spend time this afternoon, at the table, with some AMAZING people in our church that I didn't know before.

So...

There was this afternoon...

There was the overwhelmingly unison agreement that we needed more potlucks...

There have been the opportunities recently to enjoy meals with brothers/sisters in my singles group (we have a meal planned for this coming Wednesday!)...

There is the example of the early church in Acts 2, where Luke says they broke bread in each others' homes, enjoying the favor of all the people...

There is the ministry of our Lord, who often met people and touched them within the course of a shared meal at a table...

So my question to you all is this...

Why is the table so special? What is it about dining together at a table that draws people together???

4 comments:

Keith Brenton said...

(I know you're praying for the fellow who has been teaching your class, my old and good friend Bob, who had to have an emergency appendectomy yesterday.)

It's been a couple of years since I read Table (I just finished Gathered People a week ago) and it challenged me. Angi was part of a group at PV which read the book and actually celebrated a more paschal meal together to remember Christ together.

Table is where family gathers. Table is where lives are shared, memories are recounted, good food is consumed ... all of it together. I think that's the key word.

mmlace said...

"My old and good friend Bob"...

Heh...are you calling Bob 'old'???
;)

So was Gathered People good? I'd like to read it sometime. Also would like to read his baptism book (don't remember the title to it?)

I remember reading of the small group celebrating the paschal meal...read of it in the Pilgrim Heart study guide.

"Table is where family gathers. Table is where lives are shared..."
As a single person who eats most of my meals alone, the ones that I share with others are incredibly meaningful. Each time, I get to know a little bit more about my brothers and sisters, as we fellowship together.

(And then, there may be those that...although they are an incredible blessing and encouragement to me, teaching and sharing their insight...I've never so much as "sat at a table and eaten a burger" with them. Perhaps I'll correct that some day...)

Bill said...

May God's richest blessings be yours as you reflect on the extent of His love demonstrated through the death His Son on the cross and the awesomeness of His power exhibited through the resurrection.

To God be the glory!

-bill
a spiritual oasis

preacherman said...

The table makes people feel comfortable. I love gathering around the table. I am blessed tomorrow (Easter) to gather around the table with friends and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.
I hope you have a happy Easter!
May God bless your life this week and the weeks to come.
In Him,
Kinney Mabry