I wonder why some people who work in the restaurant business refer to their place of business as stores. I can see it if you work at Cracker Barrel because it is a restaurant and store. Other restaurants that don’t have a store still are referred to as stores by those that work there. I am sure there is some business principle at work here that dictates that any place that sells stuff is a store even if the product is a Big Mac. It is no big deal, but I was not brought up that way. My dad was in the restaurant business and he always referred to his restaurants as restaurants. I am not sure what I am missing here but it is noteworthy that I only have memories of my dad being in the restaurant business and McDonald’s has stores all over the world.
I noticed something recently in a McDonalds that I had not seen in one previously. There was a table that looked more like a dining room table. Eight people could easily sit around this table. The chairs were like normal chairs not bolted to the floor nor attached to the table in some way. The table looked like a perfect place for old men to gather in the morning for coffee. A small group of people could easily have a meeting around such a table. I am not sure who had the idea to put a dining room table in a McDonald’s. More than that I am reasonably sure that whoever made that decision was not thinking spiritually or theologically, but I wonder.
I wonder because we human beings have innate need to be included, to be a part of and to belong. In church, we have our own table. No, I am not talking about the one you sit each Wednesday night in the fellowship hall, or maybe I am. The table where you always have a place, where there is always room for you. I am thinking of the table where you always find your fill both of good food and good company, the table where you connect with others, yourself and maybe even God in a deeper way. The tables where that happens maybe in many places your kitchen or dining room, a restaurant where you are a regular, a church fellowship hall or even in a school cafeteria or a break room at work. It could happen there for you. You find a table where friends or family always have a place for you always welcome you, always include you. It is a place where you belong and a moment that you are a part of.
Not everyone has that sort of table, a table where they always a place. Not everyone has a table where they find grace, grace enough to belong and be included. Not everyone has experienced the warmth and joy of such table, but that does not mean that they do not still long for it.
There is such a table. It is a table that reminds us and teaches us even as it invites us to come and find our place. We call it the Lord’s Table or the Lord’s Supper table. It is in the sanctuary. It is a table that symbolizes the reality of God’s love for and acceptance of us. The meal we share from it reminds us that we are loved, that God has made a way for us to be included, for us to a part of the family of God. There is always room for one more at the table of our Lord.