Festival of Christ the Chief Elder
What does “coming to the table” mean to you? Hospitality? Friendship? Love? Respect? Conversation? Sharing? Nourishing body and soul? Remembrance? I imagine that at the Last Supper all of the above were experienced. Jesus needed the closeness of his disciples before facing the cross, and although they were unaware, the disciples needed to be together before the unknown hit them. As a church community, we seek this experience as we come together to share in Holy Communion and remember Jesus’ love for us.
At the table Jesus calls us into a relationship with him. He calls us to remember his teachings of loving God, loving ourselves, and loving others. Throughout the Gospels Jesus ate with the disciples, the followers, the curious, the person of questionable character, and he taught lessons of love, respect, inclusion, action, and faithfulness.
Recently “coming to the table” has taken on a new meaning or new experience as we have supported one another in a time of pandemic and crisis. We have learned new ways to come together and have rediscovered how important coming to the table is for our well-being. We have learned we miss contact with people. FaceTime, Zoom, and many other forms of virtual gatherings have become part of our everyday language. We have been presented with opportunities to serve others while distancing ourselves. Giving food, making masks, sending a card or making a phone call, shopping for the vulnerable, and donating money have become forms of “coming to the table” to love and serve as Jesus calls us to do.
Let us remember that “coming to the table” takes on many forms. Let us remember and act upon these lessons of love and community.
Joyce Vance, retired Christian educator
Raleigh, North Carolina