Two years ago, I wrote a post called “Meeting Around the Table of the Lord.” The described our church gathering on Easter morning, when we gathered together “to break bread.” The Lord’s Supper was not a piece a bread and sip of juice tacked on the end of our meeting. Instead, our meeting was centered on sharing a meal together.
Here is the post:
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.