Every Tuesday night at 6:30, members and friends of the house gather around the table at Lotus to share a meal. We’ve always called this event Community Dinner, since it’s when our extended community comes together. Since the children have arrived, however, the meal has been rechristened Holy Communion. Apparently, the children confused Sunday’s eucharistic celebration (which is signaled by a “Holy Communion” powerpoint slide at North City Church) with our weekly fellowship meal. Their felicitous mistake got me to thinking about the relationship between our Sunday ritual and our Tuesday practice. They both are meals consisting of some form of bread and wine. At both meals we give thanks for God’s gifts. The meals are a sign of our peace with one another, they are both (almost always) occasions of joy, and both in some way point forward to the promised banquet at the end of time (cf. Isa 25:6; Lk 14:15). As the Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder reminds us in Body Politics, “The meal that Jesus blessed that evening and claimed as his memorial was their ordinary partaking together of food for the body.” In nearly every respect, our community meal is an extension of the Lord’s Supper.

When we originally planned community dinners, we envisioned sharing a meal not only with our friends, but also with our immediate neighbors and with the marginalized. We had in mind Jesus’ words, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed” (Lk 14:12-14). Our community meals have not been as racially, socially, or economically diverse as we had hoped in the beginning, yet as the children remind us, there is still something holy about our Tuesday communion, even as our congregations remain holy despite their brokenness and shortcomings. The meal remains holy because it still calls us back to our common humanity. Just as each of needs bread to live, we also need fellowship. Thus, the sharing of bread is just a symbol of the much deeper sharing that goes on between us – the sharing of our goods, of our responsibilities, of our cares and joys, and ultimately of our lives. The invitation of the Lotus House to share Tuesday dinner is therefore an extension of the invitation to enjoy the abundant life of acceptance, reconciliation and shalom which we ourselves received from Jesus. Isaiah connected the many aspects of communion in these words: “The Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.” We believe that in some mysterious and limited way, this prophecy is being fulfilled among us each Tuesday, and wherever believers gather in peace around a table.

If you’re free some Tuesday, drop by for some Holy Communion.

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