By Mark Krause
One of Paul’s names for Communion is the “Lord’s table” (1 Corinthians 10:21). It is impractical for most churches today to celebrate the Lord’s Supper by sitting at chairs around a large table. Yet the table is an important symbolic element to our understanding of the Supper.
Table fellowship is a powerful thing. We do not normally sit down to eat at a table with random strangers or with enemies. We like to take our meals with family and friends. When we celebrate Communion, we reenact a meal with other people, and these are people with whom we want to eat.
There are many kinds of tables in our homes today. Which is the most like your celebration of the Lord’s Supper? For example, some homes have a pool table in the family room. Is your partaking of Communion just a game, just a mindless break in the monotony of life?
Many homes have a workbench in the garage that is the center of various projects. Its counterpart is the sewing table, perhaps piled with garments yet to be finished or needing repairs. Is your celebration of the Lord’s Supper a place where you have several unfinished spiritual projects piled and waiting for you? Or do you use the quiet time of Communion to think about the many tasks awaiting you after church?
Often a home’s furnishings include a small, decorative table that serves no function other than as a place for a beautiful vase or plant. Is there more to your Communion time than decoration? Are you going through motions in a proper, respectable way in case someone is watching?
Most homes have a folding table in storage that is brought out when needed. Do you come to the Lord’s table only on rare occasions, leaving it in your spiritual closet most of the time? Is your Lord’s table flimsy and unstable?
Another common furnishing of homes is the coffee table, sometimes a place where coffee-table books are displayed but never read. Do you participate in the Lord’s Supper having read the Book, having spent time in prayer and Scripture?
The Lord’s table is a table of fellowship, where a common meal is shared. I like to think of it more in terms of a kitchen table than an expensive table in the formal dining room. The kitchen table is where you eat with family and close friends, not invited guests and barely known acquaintances. You share with your dear brothers and sisters, and with the Lord Jesus, who offers his body and his blood for our salvation and our sustenance.
May we come to the table this day to mingle our lives with the Lord.
Mark Krause serves as academic dean and professor of Bible with Nebraska Christian College in Papillion, Nebraska, and Crossroads College, Rochester, Minnesota.