Not only is the dinner table often the hub for connection and conversation within a modern family unit, but the “table” has always held a deep significance within the Christian tradition as well. Fostering an intentional conversation between parents and children can be a very holy thing indeed, and it might even be reflective of something much grander, something that transcends a specific moment in time, a specific table, or a specific meal.
With competing schedules amongst family members always tending to cut down the togetherness factor, the dining room table can be more than just a check-in point; it can become a rhythm that borders on being a sacrament. Clearly the Christian table finds its meaning in the act of communion: the bread and the cup. But, we lose a little bit of its significance when we place the table on a stage in a sanctuary. Jesus’ institution of the first communion was around a table…right in the middle of a meal, in fact!
Jesus’ placement of the new covenant at the table was no mere happenstance; it was a highly deliberate and relational move…no wonder they were originally referred to as “love feasts!”
Maybe Jesus was clueing us in to the fact that we have opportunities at every table we share with our families and friends to call to remembrance the life of love that he led?
Maybe he is, in consecrating that first table, asking us to realize that every meal we share in community is a holy moment?
Far too often, we go about our days rushed and unaware of the faith and hope that is springing up in the lives of people all around us. We fail to pause and be present to not only the moment itself, but also the food that gives us sustenance, the relationships that give us life, and the communion we are fortunate to have when we eat with one another.
Taking time during a meal with family to raise the awareness of the beauty of a shared table is not only something that can draw us further into communion with Christ, but it also draws us into communion with one another: that shared space where the lines that sometimes form walls between us become rather tethers that bind us to each other. Doing this on a habitual basis over weeks, months, and years will inevitably build into the lives of those within the family unit a deep craving for the table’s continual role as a space where both faith and God’s faithfulness are shared together.