Moving from the Buffet Line to the King’s Table (Part 2): Tasting Community

Moving from the Buffet Line to the King’s Table (Part 2): Tasting Community

My family enjoys a good buffet.  There’s enough food to feed the hungriest parent and plenty of options to satisfy the pickiest child.  However, my wife and I have discovered one major drawback to our trips the local buffet – we may show up together, but we rarely eat together.

With three children ages 5, 9, and 11, we find ourselves taking shifts to the buffet line.  My wife takes one child through the line, and I’ll take another, while our oldest child works her way through on her own.  Once our two youngest children have their food, I will typically stay with the children at the table, while my wife gets her food.  Once she returns, I’m ready to take round 1 through the buffet line.  Finally!  I sit down and grab my fork to eat, and then I hear a voice next to me, “Daddy, I’m ready for seconds.”

Welcome to the buffet – where we all get what we want, but scarcely enjoy it together!  This illustrates why increasingly, we prefer a “family meal” at home or in a sit-down restaurant to the everyone’s-pleased-but-not-together experience of the local buffet.  We miss the joy of tasting, not only our food, but the community we have together.

I wonder how many of us experience church this way.  We can come when we want to get what we want and how we want it, but miss tasting the real joy of the community Jesus offers us at His table.  Christian community is not just another serving to be offered in the buffet line of life, but it is the gift we’re given around the table of the King, who promises that “people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at the table in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29).  In other words, those who belong to Jesus are given and invited to taste and enjoy community.

Not only did Jesus compare the Kingdom of God to table fellowship with the people he calls to Himself (Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 14:7-11) but also illustrated this reality throughout His life and ministry.  Jesus was often called a “friend of sinners,” because he spent time in table fellowship with them, along with His disciples, gathering for Himself a community of broken people, tasting grace and being made whole at the table of the King.

In the early days of the church in Jerusalem, believers devoted their time, not in isolation but to being together.  Not only did they worship together, pray together, and take communion together, but they attended the temple every day and broke bread together in each other’s homes, receiving their food together “with glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:46).  In other words, they heard the invitation of the King, not only to come to Him, but to join one another in tasting community around His table.

When Christians gather each Sunday for worship and communion, we participate, not only in a meal that points back to the sacrifice of Christ for us, but that celebrates the community won for us in Christ, that community with whom we will sit at the table of the King at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-8).

At Calvary, we have spent the past two months discussing the Community we have been given in and through Christ and the calling we have to invite others to join us at the banquet.  May we be faithful to that call, not only walking in together, but tasting the grace of community together at the table of our King!

Please pray with us, as we begin membership classes this Sunday, April 29, inviting those who have been frequent guests at Calvary to consider if this is the specific local body of believers to which God is calling them to taste community in fellowship around Christ’s table.