Encounters: At the Table

My Grandma Josie’s table was always set with a lace tablecloth. Most of the time my Grandpa Gene cooked the meal, but my grandma took care of the table. There was always a plate with bread and a ceramic butter dish. And lots of laughter and repetition, because Grandpa had trouble hearing. All at Grandma Josie’s table.

My Grandma Joanna had a very small table, with only room for 3. Even though there were visitors at every meal. People were always stopping by to see my Grandma. So food was always being prepared. Tortillas, rice or fideo, and beans were always available. A jar of chile was always on the small wood table. My Grandma Joanna’s table was always open.

The table in my mom’s kitchen always has a little napkin house made from plastic canvas and yarn. There is typically a stack of mail on the table close to a set of salt and pepper shakers. Our table was always surrounded by friends, nearly every Sunday we had a friend join us for lunch (pot roast). I’ve eaten more tacos at my ma’s table than I could count. Numbers may not reach that high (you’ll have to come over for tacos sometime).

I write these stories in this moment of Holy Week because we all have memories at the table. And in Luke 22, we get a glimpse of the Table where Jesus sat with his disciples. How they get to the Table is somewhat miraculous and mysterious and you should read that part, but let’s focus on the Table for a moment, if only because in the hustle of Holy Week and all the preparations you have to make I know many of you will not be able to sit at the Table, reflect and remember. So let’s do that now shall we? Pull up a chair.

The Table is about a reminder of our union with Christ and the righteous imputed to us by Jesus in that he’d take all of our sins from us: past, present, and future. And for those of us who are in Christ, the Table should never become routine. Although you are in children’s ministry, so it’s unlikely this would ever become routine. The Table should fill us with awe and wonder at the love of God, at the complete covering of our sin, at the way God paid the debt we owed and brought us into perfect union with God in spectacular fashion. That’s the Table.

Jesus takes the bread and breaks it, as a symbolic act of the suffering about to occur. “Do this in remembrance of me,” Jesus urges the disciples. He’s saying, “When you get together, remember this. You’re going to need to remember this. My body, broken for your sin.”

Then, after dinner, he took the cup, the cup of what he called the blood of the new covenant. Christ has died once and for all for those who are perishing, which means the cup (even the little tiny plastic one that holds only a sip), signifies how God sees you. He sees you as spotless, blameless in his sight, beloved as an adopted son, beloved as an adopted daughter. Again, Jesus said, “As long as you get together, when you gather as a family, when my people come together, this is what you’re going to need to remember.”

Remember.

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