I laughed to myself yesterday as I put out our communion cloth at the little church plant. I remember my Dad telling me about my Grandfather and his friends laying the communion table – the white communion cloth was pristine. In between use it was stored on a roll so it would never have folds or creases. The laying of the table was a ritual, done with honour and respect – it looked perfect.
Our table looked a bit different yesterday – the cloth is one covered in children’s handprints from an outreach last year. I’m afraid the storage did not result in a wrinkle free cloth and judging by the photo I’m not good at getting things straight. Thankfully this month the bread was ‘appropriate’ – I had a near miss a couple of months ago when the only bread I could find on the way to church was either cheesy garlic bread or a chibatta! (note to self buy the bread on a Saturday not on the way to church!!)
But I think our table represents what church is like for me – it is real, it is colourful, it is a bit messy. Sometimes in church we bump into each other – we disagree, wine gets spilt, wrinkles get made. Yet we all sit down and eat together, we all share Christ together, we all commune around the table. The focus of the Lord’s Supper is the Lord – the One who brings us together, the One who mops up our messes, the One who blots out our stains.
So I hope my granddad would understand and see my heart. The Communion Table is not a place for perfect people, but for people who are real, who are messy, who are broken, who find forgiveness in Jesus. It is a table for all people, it is not elite, it is not aloof. Jesus says come if you thirst, come if you are hungry:
Isaiah 55: 1-3 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.