The world’s largest table

Practically every Sunday of my childhood was highlighted by lunch at my grandparents.  After church we’d gather at their house where my grandfather had cooked the world’s best food.  There were 11 of us – my mom and dad and my two brothers; my aunt and uncle and two cousins; and my grandparents.  We’d crowd around the table, elbow to elbow, laden with fried chicken or beef stew or pork roast; with creamed potatoes and collard greens or beans or carrots; bake and serve rolls; and other simple yet filling foods.  Dessert was usually a cake or a semi-frozen Pet Ritz pie in chocolate, or coconut cream.

It was a simple meal exquisitely seasoned with meaning the mere thought of which sends my taste buds into overdrive.

Those meals are but a memory now.  As I share the description with you I cannot create in you the same inner sounds, smells, sights or tastes but I can stir up in you a set of memories that are unique to your life journey.  Similarly, we are in the process of creating memories for our children – moments that they will remember in the future with the same kind of vividly mouth-watering detail.

October 3 is World Communion Sunday – a day on which the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper occurs within congregations around the world.  At every hour of the day on World Communion Sunday a congregation of believers will come to a table – elbow to elbow – and feast on a simple yet exquisitely seasoned meal.  The words spoken, the story shared cause powerful memories of the past and invite us into the real presence of our risen Lord.

World Communion Sunday invites us to stand around the world’s largest table alongside family and friends from whom we may be geographically distant.  This year I will join in this celebration in Louisville, Kentucky – a far distance from my family in Boise and North Carolina – but I will stand alongside my colleagues in faith from around the country to eat the bread that is the body of Christ and partake of the cup that is the cup of salvation.

“Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God.  They will come from the east and west, north and south to sit at table…”  I look forward to seeing you there.  Thanks be to God!

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