“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
We have many generations of traditions surrounding the Lord’s Table. Most of these traditions are noble, and thankfully we are diligent in remembering Christ at the table. It’s refreshing to know that we hold a high view of communion. Personally, I like to envision sitting with the first Christians who sat around the table, eating, drinking, and sharing what Christ meant to them.
The letter written by the Bithynian governor Pliny to Emperor Trajan around 110 A.D. gives us an early glimpse of what a worship day looked like for early Christians. Pliny was writing Trajan about the “problem” they faced with Christians who permeated the Roman Empire. Trajan’s practice was to give them three chances to “repent,” denouncing Christ, or else they would be executed. He described the “offense” of the Christians this way:
They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to do some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food — but ordinary and innocent food.Christian History Institute
We know that the early Christians, even while being persecuted, were devoted to gathering to worship then gathering again for the Lord’s supper. Though we have removed the meal, there are ways that we can reconnect with the communal aspect of the Lord’s supper. We should always strive to rethink and reimagine the table. It was not an isolated, individualistic event. The Christians were united both at and through the table with Jesus as the meal. It was a time to celebrate salvation and to participate in the heavenly table, where all Christians of all cultures and all time gather together!
It is refreshing when we become giving in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the fruit of the vine. We commune with and give to our fellow brothers and sisters. There are many ways to re-envision the Supper. It’s wonderful to think about the depth and meaning of this meal that has been celebrated for thousands of years!