Friday, September 16, 2016

Setting the Table of God

This past Sunday, through one of those situations that happens from time to time, my congregation found ourselves without our usual communion bread for worship. We have a wonderful team of volunteers who make homemade bread for us every week, but last week, none showed up. Thankfully, we keep a box of wafers around just in case and we pulled them out for the holy meal this day.

For anyone who isn't familiar with communion wafers, they are thin, tasteless discs about an inch in diameter that are engineered to dissolve quickly on the tongue and have a shelf life of about one hundred years. I jokingly refer to them as "crispy Christs," but for many people who grew up in the church in the twentieth century, these wafers were the norm for years.

For kids at Martin Luther Church, though, they are not.

This fact became clear during communion. Several appeared puzzled. One young person audibly said, "ugh" when I handed him the body of Christ. Another looked at it with a confused expression and then handed it to his mother.

At the time, I chuckled to myself over their honest reactions. As I thought about it later, though, I realized there was more than a "kids will be kids" truth to their reaction. They came expecting good food at communion -- and why shouldn't they? If "this is the Lord's table" (which I say every week), and our Lord is generous and loving, why shouldn't we expect good food at God's table? If the Lord's Supper is meant to be a "foretaste of the feast to come," I think fresh bread and a decent cabernet is a better representation of that feast than stale wafers and Manischewitz.

Going beyond the quality of communion, I think the same could be said about other aspects of church as well. Do we participate half-heartedly in worship? Do we allow clutter and disfunction to persist in our church? Do we serve weak coffee and stale cookies? (Seriously, why can't more churches make a decent cup of coffee?) Or do we offer our best as a community to both regulars and guests as a reflection of the great gift we've received in Christ?

Now, giving our best isn't the same as being perfect, but I believe we should act as though what we are doing matters to us and furthermore, we want it to matter to those around us, too. How do we set the table of our church on Sunday and our lives during the week so that people come to expect the best of God when they gather there?

From the Gray,

Pastor Ari

“I know you’re supposed to be my steering wheel, not just my spare tire.” -Arrested Development, “Tennessee”

No comments:

Post a Comment