I have a big table in my office. Most days, I sit alone at the big table (desk) and work on my computer. We also have monthly staff meetings in there, and when everyone takes a seat, the table is filled and the room comes alive with conversation and laughter (and occasionally some tears). The best meetings are the ones where Leslie has baked something and brought it in to share. This is true for all gatherings, but it is particularly significant among Christians…
When I hear bread breaking, I see something else; it seems almost as though God never meant us to do anything else. So beautiful a sound, the crust breaks up like manna and falls all over everything, and then we eat; bread gets inside humans. —Daniel Berrigan
Communion (The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist) is a big deal at our church. In fact, it is really the centerpiece of our gathering. We received communion together on Sunday and I’m still thinking about what Pastor DJ Marin said before inviting everyone to come to the table. He talked about how he always wanted an office with a desk, but when he finally got one, he didn’t like it. He didn’t like it because it’s lonely there—it’s all about work and demands and schedules and expectations. He said he’d rather be at the Table.
Pastor DJ spent some time contrasting a desk and the Table…
A desk is lonely but the Table is full of people
A desk means work but the Table means rest
A desk is surrounded by coworkers all needing and wanting something from you but the Table is surrounded by family—building and loving you.
A desk is where you spend your life but the Table is where you get it
A desk usually has a boss demanding work to be done but the Table has a Savior who says IT IS DONE.
I loved his analogy and I think it is crucial for the church today in America. We’ve had “personal relationship with Jesus” hammered into our psyche and we live in a nation that adores the self-made man, the Lone Ranger, and the fiercely independent. But these admired pictures of greatness are individuals standing or sitting alone—and that’s not what God is calling us to because when you sit alone at the table, it becomes a desk.
The thing about communion is: it’s… communion. As in, community. In other words, it’s not done alone.
Communion is not a desk job. Communion is always around the Table.
We all have to clock-in and do what needs to be done at a desk, I get that. But we must also come to the Table, to that place where life is given not earned.
It means something for Christianity that our central sacrament is a meal; it means more than we can possibly know. —Ryan Cook