the weblog of Alan Knox

Meeting around the Table of the Lord

Posted by on Apr 6, 2010 in edification, gathering, ordinances/sacraments | 15 comments

I’ve written several times on this blog about the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, or the Eucharist, or whatever you want to call it. I’ve talked about how the Lord’s Supper is described as a meal in Scripture. I’ve also written about how we usually eat together when we gather with the church.

Still, though, there has usually been a disconnect between our meeting together, the bread/cup, and eating a meal together. I’ve often thought about how this disconnect could be remedied.

Last Sunday – yes, Easter Sunday – we had an opportunity to meet in a different way that brought together the bread/cup, a meal, and our whole meeting.

We began by meeting around tables. People knew that we would be eating together, so they brought food with them – rows of crock-pots, casseroles, dishes, and other assorted goodies. We then milled around and talked and discussed our week and different things like that.

Eventually, one of our brothers started leading us in some singing. Since it was Easter, and since we were planning to study the resurrection passage in Matthew 28:1-17, we sang several songs about the resurrection. We’re also reading through Acts together, so at one point two brothers read from Acts 18, one reading the first half of the chapter, and another reading the second half of the chapter.

After a few songs, we talked about the significance of the bread and breaking the bread. We talked about how the bread signified both Jesus’ broken body as a sacrifice on our behalf, and how the broken bread signifies the beginning of our meal with Jesus as our risen, living host. It remains his table, not ours.

Since I was planning to lead our discussion of Matthew 28:1-17 that morning, I suggested several questions that people could discuss together around their tables as they were eating.

Then, after we broke and shared the loaf of bread together, we began eating. As we ate, we discussed the questions that I suggested. After most people had finished eating, and while a few were finishing dessert, I asked each table (we had five tables) to share something about their discussion.

Next, I read and led a discussion of Matthew 28:1-17. Of course, our discussion around the table led into this teaching/discussion. Since people had already been talking about the issues in smaller groups, it seemed our larger group discussion was even more open and focused on the topic.

Finally, after a few announcements, we passed around the “cup” (actually a bottle of grape juice) and shared this together.

There are many ways for the church to meet together. I really appreciated the way we met together last Sunday. I liked the way that our meeting format combined the bread, cup, meal, and teaching all together in a unified format. The bread/cup and meal were not “tacked on” to the meeting, but were an integral part of our meeting together.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-6-2010

    Sounds like a great time of fellowship. I appreciate the emphasis on it being His table, not ours.

  2. 4-6-2010

    This sounds terrific. I love the integration of the table and the gathering.

    But – where was “the preaching” ? =)

  3. 4-6-2010

    Makes you kinda hungry…

  4. 4-6-2010

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. I think we will experiment with this.

  5. 4-6-2010

    Was the Lord’s Supper a sacrificial meal?

  6. 4-6-2010


    Yes, it was. There were several layers of fellowship and teaching, in fact.


    The “preaching” was outside of the meeting, since the people there already claimed to be believers. There was plenty of teaching though. ;)


    Then let’s eat together sometime.


    Let us know how it goes.


    Our meal certainly focused on Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. :)


  7. 4-6-2010

    No, Alan, I mean the original Lord’s Supper.

  8. 4-6-2010


    Sorry, I misunderstood. So you’re asking if Jesus’ last meal with his disciples in the upper room a “sacrificial meal”? I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that.


  9. 4-6-2010

    Was it a sacrificial meal like those of Abraham and Moses?

  10. 4-6-2010


    I thought they were eating one of the Passover meals?


  11. 4-6-2010

    Alan, I like what you wrote here. Thinking back to my blog post you commented on, I think we could explore this idea some. Right now, though, people are not that settled in just eating together. … baby steps.

  12. 4-6-2010

    Well sure, but Jesus was establishing a new covenant. All other covenants were “ratified” by a sacrifice and eating the sacrificial victim. So, was this a sacrficial meal?

  13. 4-6-2010


    I understand about baby steps… we’ve been slowly adjusting the way that we meet since we started meeting together. And, we’ve tried to adjust carefully, not just for the sake of change.


    I’m not convinced that “eating the sacrificial victim” was always a way of ratifying a covenant. Some sacrifices were eaten; some were not. Interestingly, when the author of Hebrews includes a lengthy discussion of the sacrifice of Jesus compared to the Old Covenant sacrifices, he does not mention eating the sacrificial victim at all.


  14. 4-7-2010

    In the case of the Passover, the sacrificial victim was commanded to be eaten, and the Last Supper was done in the context of the Passover, but yet Jesus instituted a new covenant which fulfills the old at Passover. The Last Supper has become the “Paschal meal.” So is it a sacrificial meal?

  15. 4-7-2010


    I don’t think the Last Supper has become a “Paschal meal”. The last supper that Jesus ate with his disciples was a “Paschal meal” (i.e., Passover meal). I’ve looked through all accounts of the Last Supper, and I didn’t see anything about Jesus telling his disciples to eat him, since he was going to be the sacrifice of the New Covenant. I also read through all the epistle accounts of the church eating together, and I didn’t see anything about eating the sacrifice. Perhaps I missed something?



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