The Open Table

I read an article in the online version of The Christian Century in which an Episcopalian (American Anglican) theologian named Charles Hefling discussed the meaning of “open communion”.
Based on Hefling’s thoughts, I would say that my own theology with regard to this sacrament is summed up in the term “open table”, which means that when I issue the invitation, it is totally inclusive, and usually goes something like this:
“At Trinity United Church we believe that this table, and what we share here does not belong to us. It all belongs to God, and is for God’s people. It does not matter to us if you belong to this church or any other church. You do not have to believe the same things we do, or even know exactly what you believe. The only qualification, if that is the right word, for sharing in the food and drink that comes from this table is that you have a hunger, a thirst in your life for God. At the same time, you are absolutely free to not receive communion. “
I wrote this quick comment on The Christian Century blog page after reading the article:
I looked out from an 8th floor balcony this afternoon, at a mist-kissed canopy of trees over a creek valley that runs through the neighbourhood near my church. I was visiting with the two wonderful women, sisters who share that apartment, and who shared the view with me. It was a brilliant sunny fall afternoon, and the beauty I was gifted with had for me, a deeply sacramental nature. God the creator is present in this world. The Spirit is present in this world, and is alive. Christ was present in the visit I had with these two strong, faithful women. I noted that the only fences limiting access to the trees, to the creek valley I was looking at, are human made. As the pastor, and celebrant at Trinity United Church in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, I am grateful that we have a totally open table.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s