November is a month about tables. When I left New York City and moved into a place with an actual dining room, one of the first things my family did was buy a table. But we couldn’t buy just any table. We had to buy a table that would work for November. It needed to have space for our immediate family but also for our extended family and friends who will come to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. A dining room table can be more than just a tool we use daily. It’s a piece of furniture filled with the hope that other people will join with us to eat, talk, laugh, and have . joining us. It’s a piece of furniture designed to form, maintain, and grow relationships. And that’s why our sanctuary is focused not on the pulpit, a stage, or even the pews themselves. Everything directs us to the altar, to Jesus’ dining room table.
November is a month about tables and worship is about tables too. Our altar is free standing, connecting us with the earliest Christian practices that we know about. When Jesus’ ministry traveled throughout the Near East, he often ate meals with people who supported him and those who didn’t. The early Christians continued this meal fellowship by hosting the earliest churches in private homes, entered around the meals they ate together. Some of the earliest Christian worship art shows people standing around a table. The meal we eat every Sunday is a meal we eat at Jesus Christ’s invitation. It’s a table where you are invited to connect with this Jesus who lived, died, and rose for you. The table is where our relationship with Jesus is renewed, tended, and cared for. Even if we spent the week feeling God was far away or not even thinking about God at all, when we eat together at the Lord’s table, we are with Jesus. We share in the hope that this feast with the divine will never end.
November is a month about tables and our tables at church will be filled all month long. On November 5, we will light candles in memory of those saints who filled our lives with love and who now rest with Jesus. On November 12, we’ll decorate tables in the church lobby (narthex) with pictures of veterans and honor their service. On November 19, the altar will be decorated in the fresh produce you bring to donate to the Tri-Boro Food Pantry. Come and see how the table of Jesus makes a difference to you and the world.
See you in church!