Looking at the way it is lifted off the ground, it is clear that we are to think of this as a table, not an altar. This is not a place for sacrifice but it is a place of presence. At this table we gather, and as we eat and drink, we are gathered into the very real presence of the Holy One. How is this accomplished? Many have pondered and debated, but I appreciate most the humility of Jean Calvin before the mystery – ‘Now if anyone should ask me how this takes place, I shall not be ashamed to confess that it is a secret too lofty for either my mind to comprehend or my words to declare. And, to speak more plainly, I rather experience it than understand it.’
The table stands at the centre of our sanctuary to remind us of the central promise of the Risen Lord to be with his people, through life and even death, into life.
I remember vividly a service I attended in St. Andrew’s Church Chennai (Madras) India – now part of the Church of South India http://www.thekirk.in . I was visiting India as part of a monitoring team for Presbyterian World Service and Development. Guy Smagghe and I arrived just in time for a communion service. The Holy Table was decked in white linen. But the amazing thing was that each row of seats had linen over their backs also. It was as if waves of white went forth from the table at the centre, a symbolic way of extending the table to every seat of the large sanctuary, the presence and promises of the Living Lord to each member. (I later learned that this is a custom of the Scottish Presbyterian tradition, whose members first erected the church in 1821, and the Indian congregation maintains it to this day.)
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are invited to join us this Sunday for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper … at the Lord’s Table. Have a look at the order of service. There is a nursery for infants, and a programme for children, during the service. And there are many opportunities to grow in Christian faith, community and service.