God has changed every table

The world is infused with wonder, and the presence of God reveals truth that was previously unseen.

When seen with the eyes of faith, every tree is a song that sings of life, of wisdom, of death that flowers with the scent of unknown spices. Every rock is the Rock and hides honey and gushing water. Every sky is a painting masterfully created for the eyes of a single human, before another masterpiece is hung as the wind blows. Every table is the Table.

I have a thing about tables. You might have picked that up if you’ve been around nuakh for a little while. You will certainly have if we know each other in real life. I’ve written why, or at least the superficial reasons why, and tables make homes, but there’s a deeper reason that I’ve only scouted around the edges of. The Table changes our tables.

Where does God meet man? At a table, where we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Not only there, but if anywhere then there is where we can be assured that God will meet with us.

As our Sunday meetings culminate in this acted story, this symbol, this faith bought opportunity to sup with God, we sit down with God at the Table. And as we eat by faith we are lifted to the heavenly Temple and feast on Christ’s body and blood, a genuine foretaste of the feast at the end of history.

If you agree with my vision of the world—riven with the presence of God through the heart of every atom—then how could this not change the world? Most importantly because we get to eat with God, but how could that event not change the nature of the act of eating on every occasion? We cannot eat anything in the same way ever again—the simple of act of sustenance has gained a new resonance, a significance beyond itself, as though it became a sign itself.

Since God meets with man at a Table laden with bread and wine, every table in the world is changed by the echoes of that weekly once-in-an-epoch event. Not that the simple hospitality of a mug of tea and bowl of curry I can offer you is in any way sacramental, but it carries enough echoes of the sacrament that it starts to reknit our souls. Somehow it is a sign of a sign.

Which means that eating matters. We should be serious about food, about feasting, about serving the best our resources and skill allows—whether that’s chicken dippers or cordon bleu cuisine. We become friends around a table, because we become friends with God around a table.

If at the Lord’s supper God meets with man, then at our tables man can meet with man because God has done so first, even if some round the table have not known this for themselves. Something about the nature of eating has changed in light of the new covenant—and eating has always been a sign of God’s delight in and provision for his people.

I think this matters, but we can approach it the wrong way. We could become very pious about the whole thing and suck the joy out of our feasting as though it was important to savour every mouthful with reverence. Your steak is not the body of Christ. But your table matters because we get to, by faith, eat the body of Christ with the Church.

Worship God by enjoying what you eat—no more, no less. Over-the-top piety serves no one’s cause.

If you want to befriend someone, have them over for a meal. If you want to move further into friendship, have them over for a meal. Eat with their whole family and yours. Eat just the two of you. Whatever is appropriate for you and them, but eat. If you can’t cook, serve them what you would ordinarily eat, even if you fear they would turn their noses up. If they are worthy of your friendship they will receive that as the blessing it is intended to be: an invitation to your table and therefore your life. Just as our invitation to God’s table is an invitation to join his life.

We never grow beyond this, we must be people that eat together. You don’t get to eat the Lord’s Supper just the once as though that were enough for your life—Jesus is our food, we must continue to eat him.

As ever, if you don’t have a table available to you, this is not your fault—you are welcome at the tables your church has.

So, friends, your table is special. It matters. Your food is special, it matters. Enjoy it and enjoy him.

Photo by Morgan Winston on Unsplash

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