The Table

Unemployed_men_queued_outside_a_depression_soup_kitchen_opened_in_Chicago_by_Al_Capone,_02-1931_-_NARA_-_541927.jpg

Depression Era Bread lines (Wikimedia commons)

We had communion at church last week. At my church we all line up, and walk down to the front to receive the bread and wine. On Camino, we did this as weary, dirty, pilgrims with the dust of the day’s hike still on our faces. On Sunday, I did it as a weary, worn-out pilgrim, with the dust of a broken America on my face. It always makes me think of depression era bread lines. All of us, poor, needy people, lining up for the bread we need to keep going through the day.

Christena Cleveland was the first reconciliation writer who highlighted to me the importance of the communion table when it comes to reconciliation. Communion- it means fellowship. We can’t claim to walk in the light and in fellowship with God if we’re not in fellowship with our neighbour. That doesn’t mean ignoring whatever is wrong. It means stepping out of line, going to find them, and making it right. It means hard, perhaps confrontational conversations. It means asking for repentance. I don’t want to minimize that. I’ve been reading Paul’s letter to the messed up church in Corinth, and his second letter, full of reconciliation, comes after his first letter, where he straight up called out all the issues he saw  going on. We can’t gloss over stuff and pretend it’s okay.

But coming to the table also means realizing I have no moral high-ground against someone who has offended or hurt me (or those I love). It means I’m a beggar, standing in line to get my daily bread. It means you’re a beggar, too. That’s part of what makes our reconciliation possible. We both have the same brokenness, the same need. We’re both standing shoulder to shoulder, hands empty, waiting to receive grace. When I call out the way you’ve hurt those I love, it’s not because I think I’m better. I say it as a fellow beggar.

I’m reminded of this book I read about Pharisees, where the author pointed out again and again that Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees came out of a deep love for them. These were “his people.” These were the people who were studying the Bible and trying to get it right. But they couldn’t get it right, because they couldn’t see their need for grace. You have to be lost before you can be found.

David and I wrote this song back in March of this year about reconciliation around the Table. There’s a pdf of chords. I’m not eager to share my off-key singing with the world, but this isn’t about me (and maybe someone can make a better recording –yes? please?). To hear it click here. Here are the words:

THE TABLE  – By S&D Ebert

All who are beggars, all who are weak,

all who are broken, and weighed down with sin,

Come to the table.

You who eat richly and have daily bread,

hunger for justice and righteousness

Come to the table.

Oh, come to the table.

(Chorus) This table that once was a cross, 

now broken and bent yet again, 

to hold the bread broken body, 

blood poured out wine, 

as we gather together 

like beggars in line

the walls all break down

the walls all broke down

in his body that day on the cross- 

So we could come to the table.

Zealots and rebels, come lay down your swords,

Take up his peace in your empty hands,

Come to the table.

Hypocrites holy, come lay down your pride,

Come take his grace in your empty mouths,

Come to the table.

Oh, Come to the table.

Oppressed and oppressors,

Victims, aggressors,

Together come share in his feast.

Come to the table.

Oh, come to the table.

(bridge) Christ forgive us the things we’ve done, 

the shunning the greed and the pride. 

Christ forgive us the things we’ve undone, 

justice, righteousness, love. 

Make us one body we pray. 

Credits: Guitar D.Ebert, Piano J. Cuenod, Vocals: S. Ebert & D. Ebert

Creative Commons License: Please share and sing it if you want (& improve our recording!) Just don’t make money off of it. 🙂 And we’d love to know if you use it! 

Notes for the dedicated reader: Verse 1&2 are a reference to a Latin American prayer: “Give those who hunger their daily bread, and to those who have bread, a hunger for justice”. Chorus: References the idea in Ephesians 2:14″For Christ himself is our peace. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.The bridge is a reference to Luke 11:42 ““What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God.” 

 

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One thought on “The Table

  1. I am a street minister. This maybe very unusual, I know, but I hope you find it to be a blessing. If so, please pass it on. Also, I have many more offerings of similar kind. On the other hand, if it does not bless you, at least I will not do this to your blog anymore…

    Thanx

    Agent X
    Fat Beggars School of Prophets
    Lubbock, Texas (USA)

    https://fatbeggars.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/the-vandelia-i-love-vignette-3/

    https://fatbeggars.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/the-vandelia-i-love-vignette-4/

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