Sitting at the table

One of the childhood rituals of my family was Sunday lunch. Each Sunday we’d gather for lunch at my grandparent’s following church. There were two tables: the kitchen table where the kids sat and the dining table where our parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents would sit. One of the rites of passage came with the move from the kitchen table to the dining table.  Over time the faces at the table would change yet for years the feast went on.

Each week there was a variety of foods, but the kid favorite was fried chicken and mashed potatoes and each week my grandfather made sure there was a pie: chocolate or banana cream or coconut flavored.  The pie came from the frozen foods section and despite the instructions to remove it to thaw, my grandfather rarely allowed enough thawing time.  I suspect it was because he loved ice cream and a semi-frozen pie at Sunday lunch was a midday treat.

Our ritual of gathering for Sunday lunch has now passed. The gathering of family made more difficult since we kids grew up, moved away (at least some of us), have families of our own, and the death of grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles. Despite the ending of the tradition, the memory lingers (at least for some of us) of being together and creating a powerful moment in our lives.  The rituals of our childhood are now replaced by new ones.

Tomorrow is known as World Communion Sunday on the church calendar. Christians around the world will celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a powerful reminder of our connection as the one body of Christ. I’ll be a part of the celebration in Idaho but at the same time I’ll remember that I am bound to brothers and sisters in faith around the nation and world.

I’ll receive bread and cup in this sacrament and remember that my family in distant places, friends in neighboring churches, and colleagues in ministry will be sitting at the table alongside me.  I’ll remember that we are bound together by one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father who is above all and in all.

So if you’re in church tomorrow, don’t be surprised to hear me ask “Hey, would you pass me the bread?”

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