Friday, 11 November 2011

Tabletalk

A tale of two tables!

The first was the one I was privileged to sit behind last Sunday during Communion at our 356th Church Anniversary.  The deacons were distributing bread and wine and it had been a wonderfully full and diverse service with a great atmosphere of celebration and thanksgiving.  This was a moment of stillness and reflection.  As I waited my eyes fell on the basket of food under the Communion table.  Food, given by the congregation that morning and presented in the offering, for the Lord’s Larder – Yeovil Churches’ Food Bank.  I was struck by the basket’s presence there, under the table on which we had placed bread and wine.  The words of an Iona hymn came to mind, all about the ministry of Christ which described him as the one who ‘fed their mouths as well as preaching’.  Body and soul are important and the breaking in of God’s Kingdom is not only about the prospect of an eternity in heaven with Christ but also the striving for peace and wholeness – a freedom from war and a freedom from hunger – here and now on the earth below.  So I was grateful for the basket of food – just as I was grateful for the bread and wine – reminding me that the Church’s mission encompasses body, mind and spirit.

And the second table?  It was a round one at Sherborne Baptist Church that I sat at on Wednesday evening with representatives from the other churches in our local Baptist Cluster.  To be honest I had no enthusiasm as I drove to this meeting on a dark wet night – this week I’ve been to far too many meetings!  Yet I came away glad to have spent that time together because around the table I learnt how encouraged our friends at Montacute are with a steadily growing relationship with their Parish Church, how thrilled the people were at Sherborne with a recent baptism and how delighted the congregation at Crewkerne is with their newly refurbished building.  I too expressed my delight at how things have gone at South Street this autumn with good congregations and the inspiration of Kath’s baptism and our recent Church Anniversary.  Around that table I think we all sensed the gentle breath of the Holy Spirit in all our churches, giving us life and hope.

Table talk...table fellowship...meeting God and one another...around a table.
This weekend I’m looking forward to speaking at our Men’s Breakfast about Martin Luther King and then on Sunday we welcome our BB and GB to church for our Remembrance Service in the morning – and another table in the evening - Quiet Prayer and Communion.
With best wishes,

Ian

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