Today is World Communion Sunday. Christians around the world are gathering at the Table of the Lord whether or not they do it with great frequency. It is understood to be a sign of our common faith. Of course the Table, while it could be a sign of unity, is often not. Too many fences have been erected over the years.
I believe in an open Table, one where all are invited no matter their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, educational level, economic situation, citizenship, or even religion. It's not that I don't take communion seriously. I take the Table very seriously. I believe that the Risen Christ is present at the Table through the work of the Holy Spirit. I believe that Jesus meets us there, no matter where we come from, no matter who we are.
As we gather at the Table, recognizing that fences have often been erected to keep out the other, I share this word from Brazilian liturgical theologian Claudio Carvalhaes, who speaks of solidarity with the poor as an expression of the Table:
This feast of hospitality, justice and solidarity for the poor is constantly re-enacted around the Eucharist. There, always at a certain time and in a certain space, in a neighborhood somewhere in the world, we are connected to God, each other and the larger world by the mysterious presence of the Christ through the Holy Spirit. There, at the table/ altar, which always points us to elsewhere, under the powerful message of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we experience past, present, and future united in hopes for the fulfillment of history, announcing the new parousia of Christ in our midst, creating and realizing a new world order. At this table we say to each other and to the world: Lift up your hearts! Glory be to God! Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. We sing Gloria, Alleluia, Christe Eleison, and we pray Come Holy Spirit, come! While we do it, our checking accounts, endowments, credit cards, and possessions will be challenged and we will have to be accountable to the concrete ways we relate to the singing, praying and remembering this mystery. [Carvalhaes, Cláudio (2013-10-29). Eucharist and Globalization: Redrawing the Borders of Eucharistic Hospitality (p. 8). Pickwick Publications - An Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition. ]
As we gather at the Table, with Jesus meeting us, we celebrate his presence by the Spirit. The question is -- how will we be challenged by that experience? Where will our experience at the table take us? At Central Woodward Christian Church this morning we are being challenged to consider our response to those who identify themselves as being LGBT by our preacher of the day, Dr. David Gushee, who has been speaking to us on a topic of utmost importance for the ministry of the congregation I serve. Are we ready to take down fences so Jesus can work?