Table Manners (and the Lord’s Table)

Posted: May 7, 2010 in Justice, Peace

THIS IS A LINK to possibly my favorite article ever. It encapsulates the message I heard Randy Harris deliver last evening, and it sums up my ongoing inner struggle.

Oddly enough, I am more comfortable at the table Jesus convenes in Taylor’s article than at the protesters’ table; however, I continue to struggle with how to convene his table in our society. I am truly at a loss, in more ways than one.

I have long been convinced that the institutional church as we know it is not interested in truly convening “the Lord’s table.” It might be out there somewhere, but I no longer look for it there.

There are places (think soup kitchens) that are probably the best attempts we have to convene “the Lord’s table,” but they still doesn’t capture the full extent of Jesus’s revolutionary way of life. Read Taylor’s article closely, and I think you’ll understand. I love the Hippie Kitchen on Skid Row. And I’m honored to deliver lunches to our friends at the Malibu Labor Exchange. Everyone is welcome, but it is still a particular demographic that gathers. It is a very good thing, but it still misses an important element.

The closest experience I’ve had to experiencing the Lord’s Table came in the early days of the two Habitat for Humanity affiliates I founded. It was a beautiful thing to watch all sorts of people from all sorts of places come together across every imaginable dividing line. The “table” was often the tailgate of a pickup truck, and the emblems of the Eucharist were pepperoni pizza and a Dr. Pepper, but they were without a doubt my most memorable meals at the table of the Lord.

However, in both Habitat cases, we become a victim of our own success. We wanted to build more houses for more poor people, a noble thought to be sure. So we enlisted corporate sponsors, and sure they wanted to get rich off of us, but who cares if we attach their logo (we wink) as long as poor people are getting houses? And then the Efficiency Demon arrived to convince us that we needed to build the houses faster, so we started hiring crews to do the work for us. And somewhere along the way the Lord’s table disappeared.

I’m still looking for it. Better stated, I’m still looking for how to convene it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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