The Table


Discipleship is a family event - we are welcomed into a unique community where we are loved and known and where we learn how to know and love others.

So many of life’s important moments are spent around a table. Eating, drinking, laughing and crying. Time given to  life’s stories and life’s many challenges. Moments of celebration and seasons of pain.

Jesus too was regularly found ‘at table’ with His friends - feasting, forgiving and welcoming - and it is around a table that His followers regularly gather to eat bread, drink wine, worship and remember.

Tables are spaces for family - sisters, brothers and friends. We, the Church, are at our best when we are sharing life in a way that is generous, welcoming people we know well and like, but also welcoming strangers and those we find difficult.

Tables are places where arguments are worked through, important conversations are had and where we listen and learn - about ourselves, God and others.

The Church is a team who gather together to encourage, challenge, carry and pray because we love one another.

Discipleship is about the table.

But what do you see as you look at this image?

As you talk with Jesus what is He teaching you?

Are there particular Bible verses that you find helpful in the light of this image, or is there a part of the scriptures that further illuminates this icon?

Here are some bible passages that we believe are at the heart of what this icon is all about.

  • Acts 2.42-47 - ‘And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.’
  • Luke 15.2 - “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them”
  • Luke 14.13 - “when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.” Then Jesus said to his host, ‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbours; 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. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’
  • Romans 15.7 - “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you”
  • James 1:19 - My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry
  • 1 John 4.12 - “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
  • Hebrews 10.24-25 - “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Questions and Practices: How can we live in the light of The Table?

It is important that these Icons don’t just invite us to reflect but that they move us into action. Below you will find some practices to be explored on your own or in groups and some questions that you and others may wish to reflect upon:

  • Down through the years Christians have kept in the habit of regularly sharing in the Eucharist together - when was the last time you celebrated Communion?

  • Hospitality is at the heart of the Kingdom of God - welcoming new and old friends to share food, friendship and love - are you using your home or the means available to you to practice hospitality (remembering that hospitality is best when it’s simple and not ‘fancy’)? Are you comfortable receiving hospitality?

  • God often blesses us through others - how is He doing that at the moment?

  • Being aware of the impact we have upon others is important - why not invite a trusted friend to help you see both the good and bad impact that you can have on others?

  • At the table we are invited to listen to God as well as each other - what are you learning from those around you at the moment?

  • The table is a place for celebration and party - Jesus was often found at parties! When was the last time you gathered people together to celebrate?

  • Are you listening to others well? Why not gather a few of you together to take it in turns to share your story and others listen? You may want to prepare for this by creating a timeline of the key events of your life?

  • Do you know what it is like to be in relationship with you?

  • Are there any broken relationships that the table reminds you you need to go and fix - go and be reconciled. Do you need to give or receive forgiveness?

  • As you look around your Church family, your wider community are there opportunities for you to share practical care?

  • Following Jesus is a team sport where we share both the highs and the lows of life - are you sharing your life with others and are there people in your life with whom you are appropriately vulnerable?

  • Do you need help? Maybe what the next step for you is to go and ask for help from your community?

  • How are you going to practice the table?

How are you going to practice The Table?