the table: for the people

By Miguel Labrador

I remember once walking into moderately sized old church. I was with the Pastor of said church and I’ll admit I was impressed. The vaulted ceilings, stained glass, high ornate pulpit, and rich tones of wood everywhere. The architecture of the church was designed to make you look up. It was as if the building itself made you feel like you were floating upward. I asked the Pastor why the pulpit was so high. He responded, “It’s because we like to elevate the word of God around here.”

It sounded noble enough and well intentioned. I had thought that there might have been some acoustical value to the pulpit’s position, but he assured me that it wasn’t the case. In the same church, there was a large fixed table in front of the congregation at their level. I asked him, even though I suspected, what that table was. He told me it was the table from where they served the Lord’s supper.

TableAnchorMy mind was buzzing with the implications of a high pulpit and a fixed table, but I controlled myself and asked this one question:

Why is the pulpit so high and the table at the level of the congregation? He replied, “Because the sacrament of the Lord’s supper is for the people.

Rather than pressing him further and out of respect, I said nothing more. His response shocked me. You see, this same congregation, along with its elders and pastor had a practice of “fencing the table.” The basic idea is that you had to be a faithful baptized member in good standing of the congregation in order to partake of the Lord’s supper. When he said “the table was for the people,” I knew it was only for a certain subset of a very specific group of people. That’s why it shocked me.

There is so much to discuss from this conversation I had with the Pastor of this Old Church. My custom is to ask a few questions to get the conversation started. Instead, I’d like to see what other questions you would have asked this Pastor.

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About Miguel:  Missionary in the Andes Mountains Cloud Forest Region of Ecuador. My last name, “Labrador,” is the word that’s used for “Vine Worker” in the Spanish Bible, and it’s OK with me.

Personal thought: Miguel and I met through Facebook. Through divine appointment I found a page called Making Disciples, and those who know me understand how important this is to me. Well, Miguel is the creator of that page and we quickly connected. Since then, he and Claudia have become dear to me. Strange, I’m sure, but it’s amazing how the Spirit can connect hearts. One thing I appreciate about Miguel is his ability to ask the tough questions. His prophetic and apostolic voice is much needed in the Church. I highly recommend his blog God Directed Deviations. Read it…you’ll be challenged.

Want to know how to support Miguel and Claudia? Check out Pathways International. They are an international relief organization Pioneering Pathways to serve the least of these in Jesus name.

P.S.: I’m excited to have him visit soon as we will be headed to Verge 2013 in Austin, Texas.

You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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