At church this week we focused on the practice of communion in our worship services. It is one of the most important things that we do together, and it is an indicator of the health of our congregation. After all, a church that has difficulty doing communion together is likely having difficulty in lots of other ways too. Eating at a table together is a sign of healthy fellowship.
Last week I was at a conference in Michigan and one of the presenters, Scot McKnight (see above), had some interesting things to say about healthy fellowship. He says that a person is your enemy when you will not share a table with them. We eat with those we love and McKnight says that, “to love someone is to be for someone. Love is not just tolerance but it is willingness be with someone in the most intimate way.” We demonstrate our unity and our fellowship by our willingness to share a symbolic meal every Sunday. That is part of why communion is so important!
Communion is a reminder every week of how important, “table fellowship” is. Table fellowship, in the general sense, is the practice of eating a meal (or even just a donut) with other people as a demonstration of love to them, and it is a most sacred spiritual practice.
McKnight observed that historically the church has not done well in holding faithfulness to the biblical tradition while at the same time being compassionate to the marginalized. He says that the church, in general has four groups of people that it does not love very well: homosexuals, Muslims, people with different political opinions, and the poor. McKnight called these four, the four ‘enemies’ of the church.
When you consider what God would have you do in the service of the Kingdom of God, consider table fellowship with an ‘enemy.’ Imagine the impact this week if each of us loved a neighbour by sharing a meal with them. This doesn’t have to be a huge expense but has immense value. Is there a difficult person at work that you could invite out for coffee? Is there a person in crisis that you could share table fellowship with?
This is the mission that God has for us: to love the people in our community. This is ultimately how evangelism begins: by loving the people in our community. I challenge you with this: In the next couple of weeks, spend some time around a table with someone you are not currently friends with and share a meal, a cup of coffee, anything, as a demonstration of love towards them. Share a table with someone you feel led to serve and see if God doesn’t show you a way you can bless them. Then tell someone about it and encourage them to do the same!