Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What Does It Mean To "Come To the Table?"

A friend suggested recently that I talk a bit more about the reason or reasons behind my blog "Come To the Table". After a bit of mind-bending and ruminating I decided to go forth and do just that, talk about the "why" of Come To the Table.

I think the first reason for this blogspot is because I CAN. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, my right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I can share perspectives on life--mine or the community's. I can talk about freedom, liberty to be "me", to move about freely without asking permission, at least within my own borders. I can be happy or othewise, and enjoy the freedom to go from one to the other as long as I don't hurt anyone, or do anything illegal. That is my perspective. I can come to the Table or crawl under it. You get the idea...

At one time or another, we all come to a table of one kind or another. And when we do come to a table, we bring things with us, inwardly or outwardly. We can come with peace in mind, or war [not advisable, but does anyone ever listen?], we can come as an individual or as a group to meet another person or group. We can come to the table for a meal or to do homework; creativity or hard labor; to read, sing, dance on the table if it suits us, or simply to be still at the table. We can come to the table angry, fighting mad, reasonable or not, or...we can come quietly and joyfully. We celebrate occasions at the table too; in fact we do lots of stuff at the table. Tables are places for feasting or for fasting. Tables can be lighted or darkened, set upright or turned over...it all depends on the reason we are there and what purpose we envision, or what remains when we leave it.

That is all pretty ordinary stuff that occurs at a table. So, there are tables, and then...there are tables.

In my mind I see a special sort of table. This particular table is not ordinary by any means. It has a purpose beyond what we normally consider. In the Old Testament, there was a table in the Temple called the Table of Presence. On this table was the holy bread of the inner sanctum where only the High Priest was permitted. In pre-Temple times there were at various holy places altars set up for the Levitical sacrifices. Over time the two have been combined to be called the altar table. These are found in most churches of Protestantism and in the Catholic Church. I am specifically thinking of the one that I see in my church sanctuary at Trinity as an example.

When we come to this Table within the church, we come to receive the "holy food of new and unending life". This Table is a place where all are welcome to partake of food and drink, the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The invitation is to all who wish to participate in the receiving of the blessed sacrament that is freely given not only for comfort but for renewal of spirit and soul. At this Table, Jesus Himself presides and serves us from His goodness and love for us. His Table includes everyone that wishes to draw near and partake. He turns no one away for any reason. How much more then should we also include anyone who comes to the Episcopal Church, and welcome them as Christ has welcomed us? As much and then some. Christ's message of love is for all. There is no partiality with God. We are co-heirs in Him who made us and loves us. At this Table all are loved and accepted by Him.

So, I invite you all to come to the table, His Table, and be nourished, fed, cared for, accepted and loved as He does us. The door is open, welcome to the Episcopal Church

Oh, you can stop by this one too but let His be your true destination.

3 comments:

Pamela Moore said...

Catherine,
Thank you for the post you made to your blog in 2006 regarding what it means to come to the table. I an doing a program for Church Women United in Arkansas and was looking at something that I could share with the group. When I googled "Come to the Table" your blog came up and I was delighted to see your comments on the "whys" of coming to the table.

I hope you don't mind if I share this with the group. I will give you full credit.

Thanks,
Pam

Pamela Moore said...

Catherine,
Thank you so much for posting "Come to the Table" to your blog. I was looking for some information to share with a group of Church Women United and googled "come to the table" and your blog from back in 2006 came up. It is perfect for the theme of our meeting. I hope you don't mind if I share your comments on the "whys" of Coming to the Table! I will give you full credit.

Enjoyed finding your blog.

Thanks,
Pam

Catherine said...

Pam, yes by all means, share the post.l am honored by your comment and words. Thank you for providing the source of your presentation in as far as my post goes. Blessings upon your program! Catherine