Sometimes I think the Cross as a symbol for Christianity gets a little too much attention. I’m not saying it’s a bad one — there is something truly beautiful and subversive about turning the Empire’s instrument of capital punishment into a symbol of peace. But it’s a symbol that can cut both ways and turn our focus solely to the death of Christ, and not to his life either before or after.
There are other candidates that should get at least some of that attention, and, since this is Maundy Thursday, I nominate the Table.
(Take a minute and just imagine all those cross necklaces, cross tattoos, and gigantic cross installations on the interstate replaced with tables…weird.)
But give the Table a chance. A table is community: the sharing of food, and conversation, and companionship, and love. It is an invitation to share in the joy and bounty of life, blessed and given by God.
When Jesus felt that the end was near, when he knew that it would not be long before the forces of tradition and power would decide that he’d be a lot less trouble if he were dead, he wanted to spend a final meal with his closest companions. One more meal after so many. One more night of conversation. One more night of friendship. After the meal, he got up and washed the dust off their feet of his friends, over their protests. He showed them that no one is above service to each other.
That’s an incredible living metaphor for what the church is meant to be — I mean, everything is right there. An open table and humble service where no human being is above any other.
Jesus has set the table. I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry. Let’s eat.