September 30, 2015

The Table

A dark stained oak table, approximately 3’ X 8’, had large relief letters across the front edge that read, “This Do In Remembrance Of Me.” The table, a shadow of its former self, was relegated to the church foyer and used for pamphlets, tracts, pens and pencils. There is nothing sacrilegious about re-purposing church furnishings, but at the time I had mixed feelings that the embossed table, which once held the bread and the cup representing the body and blood of Jesus, was now nothing more that a display for sign-up sheets, quarterlies and extra Bibles. However, it didn’t take too long for me to realize that I had elevated the table above the emblems.  Jesus put the situation in its proper perspective when he said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table” (Luke 22:20b-21 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----What is ceremony worth? Of what good are ceremonial furnishings, tools, and clothing? How close are we to casting out all emblems? And why have the churches’ “holy, specially blessed by God with commanding insight” purpose-drivers been so hyper to rip all of the traditional trappings from the worship service, which term itself for a spell was under their twisting attack to reshape as “celebration services”?
-----Sometimes viewing a good parallel helps spot the significant issues of a problem. Look at football. If the purpose-drivers had their way with football, none of the NFL teams would any longer wear uniforms. You see, we can’t be uniform in our gatherings. And we for certain can not put on anything special for our gatherings. So the teams would take to the field in whatever trousers, T-shirts, tennis-shoes each player wanted to don, as long as it was not one of the old uniforms. What did those old uniforms do? Consciousness is layered like an onion (I know, the onion thing is used for sin, but gee, isn’t the connection between the two a bit natural?) Way deep in there, not far above the pure emotional base, are layers of very deep meaning. “Meaning” at it’s simplest is interconnection. That means deep, deep interconnected emotions with more surface levels of thoughts and attitudes are given steerage by the mere sight of all your comrades wearing colors and color patterns identical to yours. A psychology of teamwork and intertwined goals develops at the very base of the subconscious. This is good for throwing the long pass, catching the long pass, and all the blocking in between. Moreover, it invokes a similar connection in the soul of the fan. Without words, thoughts, or concepts, the team colors and logo strike directly into the heart. It makes cheering and stomping the feet bigger, better, and more coordinated. I would almost dare to say that such spectacles as “the wave” would not exist without team uniforms, for those uniforms on the field calibrate a frame of mind in everyone towards being more susceptible to spontaneous participations than if the game were played with no logos, no uniforms, just whatever whoever wished to wear.
-----There is nothing any more holy about football jerseys than there is about the communion table, the pulpit, the hymnals, choir robes, baptisteries, or banners. All of these merely invoked a common emotional frame of mind in the worshippers, uh, I mean celebrators.
-----Now doesn’t it just kind of make sense that, if we come together communally to participate in a joint worship and celebration of our Lord that maybe our minds ought to be a little together as well? And think about that deep level of subconscious were symbolism acts to induce emotions of meaning beyond the grasp of words and concepts. That is a good level for joining together. It is not an ideological level. The upper levels of the conscious mind are left for the mental individuality of each believer to learn and interact as himself serving the Lord.
-----The worth of ceremony, its furnishings, tools, and clothing, and other emblems of meaning are very similar to the worth of a wide-toothed comb to a head of badly tangled hair. I am rather sure these purpose-drivers have needed to eliminate traditional church trappings so they themselves can serve that function. It is merely the age old tendency of man to find his meaning in steering the aspects of another man’s life. And the more they can steer the bigger they feel! At the end of the game, there really does have to be some mass mover. Ceremonial furniture got in their way.

Love you all,
Steve Corey