This week, I want to consider what it means to experience and cultivate a sense of continued connection with people who have died. With this in mind, I invite us into a place of imagination and wondering. How might we ponder our connections with those who have gone before us — those who have loved us into being?
A long time pastor, and a very beloved professor at Austin Seminary, died of cancer in 2014. His illness progressed quickly, and it was very painful for his family and a large number of people he mentored. When he died, so many of his teachings, stories, and phrases took on even deeper meaning. One of them was this: “See you at the table.”
It was rooted in a conviction that at the communion table, we are invited to share a meal that lifts us up into the life of God, and in the process, we are connected with all those who have gone before us.
This is something I think about intentionally every time I celebrate and share the communion meal. Borrowing language from someone I lost, I take some time and intention in that meal to remember my connections with the “Balcony People.” As he initiated this meal, Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” The Greek word for ‘remembrance’ means something deeper than simply recalling thoughts and memories. This word means ‘to make present.’ We certainly know the heartache of grief and loss, but I truly believe there is still an aliveness to our connections. We can make these present, and it can impact us deeply.
If you are a person who participates in this meal, next time it happens, I invite you to remember the presence of your loved ones. I’m also of the conviction that this meal is meant to be a prelude to all our meals, so if you don’t regularly find yourself in church services, you need not be excluded from this imagining and making these connections present. In fact, I’m sure there are some unique ways you already do this in your own meals, and we could learn from your rhythms.
“See you at the table.”
This post is a part of a series this week. Feel free to check out the other pieces as well.