Preparing for Worship – Doug Haney, associate pastor.
On the first Sunday of every month at Wilshire, we celebrate communion. In the Baptist church of my childhood in Alpharetta, Georgia, this was always on Sunday evening and never more than once per quarter. Looking back on this ordinance, it was always at the end of the service and never really central to worship. It’s strange how as a kid you pick up on these sorts of things. The message was “we’ll do this because the Lord commanded us, but it’s not really essential — it’s just a symbol.” But for some of our worshipers who come from Catholic or Episcopalian traditions, communion is received weekly and is at the very center of worship.
This feast of remembrance is called different things in various traditions: the Eucharist, communion, the Lord’s supper, and sometimes, the table of the Lord. I find this last moniker the most inviting. We often have heard George say, this is the Lord’s table and therefore all are welcome. Lovely.
Reflecting on the power of this image, the table of the Lord, I reflected on some different sorts of tables where I’ve seen the “goodness of the Lord.”
The first table is the round oak table that has resided in my parents’ kitchen for over 50 years. It is a table where I’ve heard my dad offer the same table blessing for many years. This is a table that has born the weight of many meals and many stories. This has been a table of bounty and blessing. Such a table and the memories evoked by it are a rich inheritance indeed.
The second table is the turquoise tables of Wilshire spearheaded by Tiffany Wright. Stories abounded of the hospitality of Wilshire members who shared their lives with their neighbors in the simple act of setting a table up in their front yard.
Finally are the child-sized Sunday School class room tables on the second floor of Wilshire where many children have learned about Jesus and God’s love through the years. The day will come when once again these tables will be surrounded by girls and boys actively learning that God loves them.
Yes, the phrase “the table of the Lord” is rich with meaning because it draws us all to come and sit, come and join, come and taste and see that the Lord is good.