Sunday, April 05, 2009

UMW Communion Meditation

Meeting At The Table

Intro.: The table has become a central point of our lives.

  1. The family gathered at the table has become a symbol of the communities we all belong to. Whether it be families gathered at the table, or CEOs meeting with their board, or diplomats ironing out the details of an important treaty – the table serves to bring communities together.

  2. The table played a significant role in Jesus' life as well. Luke mentions the role of the table in Jesus' life 16 times. He eats meals at the homes of friends, He overturned the tables in the temple; today, we remember the last meal Jesus had with His disciples before his crucifixion – as they sat around a table.

  3. We talk about celebrating the Lord's supper – but at the same time it brings with it certain sadness as remember the suffering that was to follow Jesus over the next few hours. It's true in our lives as well. At the table of some there is a feast – but for others there is a famine. Though treaties are made and signed at tables, it is also at tables that treaties are broken. As members of the family of God we bring both hope and doubt.

  4. The table can also be a place of division – as we decide who we will include or exclude from our tables. God calls us to a higher calling – a calling that invites all who are broken, hurting, or lost. We are called to work for peace and justice for all of creation.


T.S. In the next few minutes I want to look at three words most often translated as table in our English Bible. It is my hope that by studying these three words we may better understand the importance of the table in the life of the Christian.

  1. The first word is the Greek word trapedza

    1. Literally, the word means “four feet”. In practice, it is the table where we sit down to eat our meals.

    2. Every time we sit down to say grace before we eat, we are sitting at he trapedza. This is the Lord's Table – it is a reminder where he sat and had His last meal with His disciples. God meets us as a family as we come together at the table. We come as a family to our Father's table.

    3. But the trapedza is also the table of the money changers – the tables that Jesus turned over when he came to the temple.

(Appl.) Like those money changers, we come to today's table broken, in need of a savior in our lives. What distinguishes us from the money changers is that they did not know they needed a savior. We come, knowing we are broken, unable except by the grace of God, to approach God's table.

    1. The remarkable thing is that the service itself recognizes this fact – as it begins with words of confession.

  1. The second word is the Hebrew word sulhān

    1. The most common location for the sulhan was in the tabernacle or temple. It held what was known as the “showbread”. Moses was given the instructions for making the bread that would become part of worship at the temple. It consisted of twelve baked cakes made from a fine flour. Each week, on the sabbath, the priest would replace the previous weeks offering with a new set of loaves.

    2. The bread was placed on the sulhans, These tables were an integral part of the worship. Their presence in the temple meant that they were considered holy.

(Ill.) Andrew Blackwood, a well-known preacher of early 1900's, once said, “The Lord’s Supper should be the crowning service in the church, and thus be earth’s nearest approach to heaven”

(Appl.) The table, the sulhan, was a place where the people of God me their Lord. It is where we, too, can meet our Lord and savior.

  1. The third word is the Hebrew word paniym

    1. Though occasionally translated “table”, the root meeting is “PRESENCE”.

    2. Not only do we meet God here, He also meets us. He takes us as we are and allows us to approach.

Conclusion: Communion is family time.

  1. We gather at the table this morning as the family of God.

  2. Here we remember the Father's gift and His son's sacrifice.

  3. Come to the table, because you are a member of the family.


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