Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Open Table

In the United Methodist Church, Holy Communion is offered at the "Open Table", meaning that you don't have to be a member to take the sacrament. I include a statement to this effect whenever I begin the liturgy:

In the United Methodist Church, we celebrate an Open Table. That means that you don't have to be a member of this church or any church to partake of Holy Communion. You don't even have to be a Christian. Christ invites to his Table all who seek him.

How is this expressed in your congregation?


Todd said...

"Christ has prepared this table and it is open to any who desire to follow after him."

That is the general statement that may be modified a little from week to week.

UCM said...

Invitation given before the Eucharistic prayer: Christ our Lord invites to his table all those who love him, those who repent of their sins, and those who want to live in peace with their neighbor (my paraphrase.)

The liturgy says it well.

No other words are needed.

Art said...

Our pastor makes a statement very similar before the liturgy and again before the distribution. It's one of the many things I love about our denomination!

Steven Manskar said...

If when you invite people to the Lord's table you include say that "you don't have to be a Christian" to come, then you should add: "If you are not a Christian and you accept the invitation to come to our Lord's table, you are taking a first step to becoming a Christian. We need to talk to you about baptism and what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ."

If we really want to invite pre-Christian people to the table, then we are obligated to nurture them towards baptism and discipleship.

Allan R. Bevere said...


I was about to say basically the same thing, but you worded it very well. Thanks!

We must not forget that Wesley was open to unbelievers who were earnestly seeking, to partake of the sacrament, but they needed to be earnestly seeking.

Matt said...

Something along the lines of :

After the bits about the bread (Christ's body, broken for us) and the grape juice (Christ's blood, shed for us), the pastor says something along these lines :

This table, that is prepared for us ,does not belong to Wellspring, does not belong to the United Methodist Church, but to Christ's universal church. Therefore, all who earnestly seek to partake, all who seek to love the Lord, are invited to join us.

Something very much akin to this : "Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him, who earnestly repent of their sin and seek to live in peace with one another"

John said...

I don't think that the opening words to Word and Table II are quite clear enough about the Open Table. That's why I preface with this statement.

Rev. J said...

I go with something like Matt...This is not ___ UMC's table, this isn't even a Methodist table, this is the Lords table and all are invited to come and enjoy the feast.