BY DANA MYERS |
This semester, I’m taking a Christian History course that covers the time from the Reformation in Europe (roughly 1520’s) to the present era. Right now along that timeline we are studying the late 17th century. So far in this class, we’ve experienced plenty of church reform, wars and conflicts, lots of councils and a general dislike among Christian groups toward each other.
In other words… The Lutherans don’t like the Catholics. The Catholics don’t like the Anabaptists. The Reformed don’t like the Calvinists. The Armenians don’t like the Reformed. The Church of England doesn’t like the Puritans. The Eastern Orthodox Church doesn’t like the Western Orthodox Church.
There’s a lot of not-getting-along in Church History. Are we so different?
When we come to the Table of Christ, are we expecting to sit at the head or the foot of the table?
Do we wear our piety like a judge’s robe, setting ourselves up to judge the world? (See also: “Love the Sinner; hate the ‘sin.'”)
I’ve read a lot in the last month about Communion – who’s in, who’s out, who has the power to regulate the distribution of Christ’s body and blood. I’m not sure why Communion has suddenly become such a hotly-discussed issue, except that it calls us back to the ages-old Christian History discussion I mentioned earlier. Who’s in? Who’s out? This is what the Church seems to have asked time-after-time.
It’s not just the “who” that receives Communion that has been brought into this discussion. We’ve batted around the “how” as well as the “who” – do we use prepackaged elements? Can we partake wearing a mask? What if I grab a pretzel and some grape juice from my home and watch the live streamed service? Is this modified version of the holy act as sacred as it would be if I were in a pew or around a table?
It is so important that we learn as the People of God to recognize this act for what it is: the Family of God, gathering around the Table of Christ, receiving the grace extended to us as the Siblings of Christ. Just as it is not my job to consecrate the elements, it is not our job to make place cards at Christ’s Table.
My job – our job – is to come to the round table, where all my Brothers and Sisters receive grace from the same hand, to look across that great expanse of wood and varnish that is this huge table, to meet the eyes of my Siblings, and to quietly acknowledge in them the face of God.
“You too?” I whisper.
Not one of us deserves to sit at this Table, and yet, here we sit, called by the Same Voice, bound by the Same Blood, held by the Same scarred hands.
Black, Brown, Queer, Straight, Old, Young, Lutheran, Moravian. This is the work of the Table. This is the work of Evangelism.
As my Sister Rachel Held Evans said, “The Table reminds us that, as brothers and sisters adopted into God’s family and invited to God’s banquet, we’re stuck with each other; we’re family.”
The Table is loud. The Table is huge. The Table is open. And that Table is Round.
*For more inspiration on this subject, you simply must check out RHE’s 2014 blog post, “The Table.”*
About the Author
Dana Myers is a pastoral intern at Unity Moravian Church in Lewisville, North Carolina; a student in Luther Seminary’s MDivX program in Saint Paul, Minnesota; and a candidate for ordination in the Moravian Church Southern Province. She is a proud mom to Raine, spouse to Matt and dog mom to Bandit and Rosie. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, local history, and the theology of science fiction (especially Dr. Who and Harry Potter). She can be reached at [email protected].