1 Corinthians 11:23-26 CEB
The Christian Church, (Disciple of Christ) denomination is a church of the table. Every time we gather as a worshiping body of believers we have communion. In the bible it sits as book ends on either side of Lent.
Lent comes from the Catholic tradition. It is the forty days leading up to Easter. It is often tied to the wilderness time of the Israelites and Jesus. Lent begins with the ashes of the previous Palm Sunday. (Palm Sunday is the Sunday in the Christian Calendar where we celebrate Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem days before he would be crucified. In traditional churches the Palms are kept, dried and burned into ashes for the next Ash Wednesday.) If this is the first time learning about these events you probably heard of Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is traditionally the opportunity to use the fat in the house before the fast that is lent. Traditionally the fat and yeast is used to make pancakes. Now most know it as a crazy celebration in New Orleans.
This all ties into the communion table. Jesus loved illustrations. Early in my Christian life I was drawn into the narrative style Jesus used to explain simple and complex truths. Sheep. Goats. Vineyards. Wheat. Food. Now, 2,000 years disconnected from the stories, we lose how relational those stories were. Jesus used objects and stories people came in contact with all the time. The biggest illustration happened around a meal. Perhaps the customs are different, but everyone needs to eat. Food is universal.
Such a simple meal packed with meaning. Many great books have been written about communion. As short and sweet the words about communion are there is so much one can say about them. I would like to talk about is the apparent paradox. As a lenten series I am going to spend the next few weeks discussing the table. How is it that we are drawn to and away from it? How can the table be for just us and for everyone at the same time? How is the event both broken and whole simultaneously? Is this a meal or a sacrifice? How is it both? How is this both a spiritual and physical event?
So today, as a way to prepare yourselves for the upcoming weeks, ask yourselves those questions. What does the table mean to you?