October 3, 2021: Who is at the Table?

World Communion Sunday

Who Is at the Table?

When we gather for a service of Holy Communion, we gather at the table of our Lord. It is his table, and not our table. We gather with all others whom he gathers at his table. Sometimes, when I have a large family gathering at my home, I have to add a table to my dining room table. When I envision Christ’s table, I envision also other tables being connected to this table.

When we gather at our Lord’s table, if we have eyes to see, we can expect to see other Moravians from the congregations and fellowships of our province and the entire worldwide Moravian Church: Alaska, Labrador, the Caribbean, South America, Great Britain, Europe, the Middle East, India, Nepal, and an enormous group from Africa.

We also can expect to encounter even greater diversity in the multitude of Christians gathered here who are not Moravians but are a part with us of the universal Christian Church—from our own community and from around the world.

Finally, we can expect to experience a whole other dimension that is beyond the boundaries of time and space: the communion of the saints. The witness of Scripture and the experience of Christians through the ages have been that we are part of a continuing community with those who complete their pilgrimage as part of the church on earth and go on to what God has prepared for them in the church triumphant. This community includes that “great multitude from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,” as the book of Revelation (7:9) describes it.

At our funeral services, we pray: “Keep us in everlasting fellowship with the church triumphant.” Indeed, not even death can destroy our community with other followers of Christ. So around the table is a community that includes countless numbers from the distant and more recent past, including those of our congregation who have entered God’s eternal keeping.

If we will have eyes to see, we will find that all of these are gathered around the table at which we gather.

Graham Rights, bishop
Winston-Salem, North Carolina