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Replay: Meeting Around the Table of the Lord

Posted by on Apr 7, 2012 in edification, gathering, ordinances/sacraments | 6 comments

Replay: Meeting Around the Table of the Lord

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:

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Meeting Around the Table of the Lord

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.


6 Comments

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  1. 4-7-2012

    The Church gathering together. I love it. And I miss it.

    Our family used to meet just like this until a few of the couples decided to stop focusing on Christ and started to just focus on themselves. It is a long story, but it yanked away the bond we had.

    Divorce hurts.

    Now I walk in the wilderness seeking a loving gathering somewhere. Just a really difficult thing to find these days.

    Swanny

  2. 4-7-2012

    I love it.

  3. 4-7-2012

    Hi Swanny
    The Lord and we cry with you, as we look for Him, like King Solomon’s Shunnamite maiden, in a dry land. Looking for Him in our brethren is what releases His Spirit on those who walk afar off or oppose themselves. Love hopes all things, believes all things, asks for mountains to be removed.
    Jesus reveals Himself to us, and them in cascades of gradual revelation.
    We measure our growth in Him by knowledge and understanding, but the true measure of Christ in us is not measurable at all by us. He alone is able to measure Himself in us, and the visible representation of Him in us is the fruit of His Spirit, released through our lives.
    Look at them as if He is in them, but in less measure than He wants, exhort and encourage them to trust and obey Him in the areas they lack His fruit. Because they are His children, they are constantly convicted by the Holy Spirit, and if you count on that, and do your part to back up the Lords voice to them, you will see them change.
    He meets them as they are, and as they perceive Him to be, and then draws them to Himself as He is.
    We have been waiting for over 10 years for some who’s love has gone cold, have wanted to argue or who were lured to return to the world.
    Recently, including today in fact, some of the most resistant called us, asking to meet.
    We could hear the years of pain and emptiness, anger and fear in their voices, and we simply said, “yes please come, we have missed you.”
    Its nothing more than what Jesus would do, and in fact, it is Him doing it over and over again thru the centuries, as He gathers his chicks under His wing. Let your broken hearted-ness break you, don’t accept that the enemy snared them, pray fervently for them and He promises us that He will set the captives free. Jesus said He came to save His people from their sins, and though He loves to save us from hell initially, its after we know Him that we really need saving, from ourselves. Blessings Greg

  4. 4-7-2012

    I’ve wondered why the Lord’s Supper has become so symbolic, it’s less of a meal than an airline bag of peanuts with a sip of juice. It should be part of a family fellowship meal as it was in the early church. The way you celebrated it was much better.

  5. 4-8-2012

    Swanny,

    I agree; it is difficult to find today. I do not take this community for granted.

    Randi,

    I love them too!

    Greg,

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    Andrew,

    That’s a good question. I know the historical answer, but it’s not satisfactory for me.

    -Alan

  6. 4-8-2012

    Alan,

    Whenever the Body gets together in any form it is awesome!

    Have a great Easter with your family!

    Swanny

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