by Paul Snyder–
From the red chalice logo, serving communion every Sunday, or even the national identity statement that reads “As part of the one body of Christ we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us,” the table is the centerpiece to Disciples of Christ churches.
In my ministry, I often reflect on this question: what does it look like in practice to “welcome all to the Lord’s Table?”
Churches celebrate the Lord’s Supper in many different ways. But, something that I have appreciated about the Disciples of Christ congregations I have had the opportunity to be a part of, is that the table doesn’t just become important when we repeat the words of institution, or just when the bread and cup is served at Sunday worship. For these churches, the table has become more than just a sacramental act. It is an embodied way of life, an attempt to make love visible.
Don’t get me wrong, these little sacramental acts on Sunday are extremely important. Communion connects communities of faith to the centuries of believers who have shared meals together in recognition of when Jesus shared bread and wine with the disciples on the eve of the crucifixion. Through the breaking of bread, we experience the presence of the Lord. As well, through the breaking of bread—in the shared commitment to “Do this in Remembrance of Me”—we remember Jesus’ life of hospitality and welcome, and simultaneously offer our own commitment to “Do” the work of love and compassion as members of communities of faith.
In my short time as intern at First Christian Church, Kaitlyn and I have been met with an outpouring of love and support which I think is inextricably tied to the Disciples of Christ commitment to the table—to do the work of making love visible.
Often times the love and compassion takes place around an actual table and involves eating. Many of you have been gracious to extend invitations to break bread together after Sunday worship, and Kaitlyn and I thoroughly enjoyed eating and sharing fellowship with people at the church picnic. These, among many others, are all examples of ways First Christian Church is practicing the call of the table outside the walls of the church.
As my internship progresses, I am excited to get to know each member of the congregation. As we continue to worship together, I am looking forward to seeing how the table transforms and calls us into new ways of existing with the world so that love overflows into every aspect of our lives. For it is by the table that the brokenness of the world is made whole.
photo credit: Baylee Smith