For the past few months I’ve been working on writing a booklet for Vineyard USA, edited by my good buddy Ramon Mayo, on the Lord’s Supper. As many of you know, I’m a huge advocate for the regular celebration of the Lord’s Supper. In fact, the inspiration for this booklet came when first wrote about five themes found in the Lord’s Supper. I’ve also talked about Calvin’s thoughts on the Eucharist as well as Ray Van Neste’s thoughts on the frequency of celebrating this sacrament. I’ve also made some brief suggestions related to a “kingdom-lensed” approach too. All in all, I have a very high view of Communion.
With that, I’d like to officially announce here at ThinkTheology.org that the booklet is finally available! Come to the Table: Experiencing God’s Presence in Communion is a 7 week devotional for individuals and groups. Here’s how Vineyard Resources describes the project:
Experiencing God is at the heart of the Vineyard. We regularly gather together in community to draw near to God as he draws near to us (James 4:8). Participating in practices that help form us into the image of Christ, our hearts long to encounter God! One way to experience God’s presence is by celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
This booklet has been designed to help you experience God’s presence as you remember and celebrate the Lord’s death. COME TO THE TABLE can be used for individual or group study or it can serve as a resource for a sermon series.
• Week 1: Taste & See That the Lord is Good
• Week 2: Meditating on the Death of Christ
• Week 3: Receive Spiritual Renewal
• Week 4: Express Thanksgiving to God
• Week 5: Pursue God’s Justice
• Week 6: Share Gifts at the Table
• Week 7: Anticipate a Future Meal
• 7 powerful devotionals for individual and group study
• 7 directed prayers & discussion questions
• Bible reading plan for each devotional
• A Keepsake look and feel
Each Devotional unpacks:
• A Theme based on a dimension of communion
• A guided prayer
• Discussion questions
• A gift booklet to neighbors and friends
• An inexpensive gift for every member of your congregation
• A great tool for explaining communion to your church
• Can be used any time of the year by individuals, families, or your church
In addition to the booklet, which you can order as an individual copy, an electronic copy, or in packs of 50 or 100, there are free sermon outlines available to help busy pastors (thanks to Joshua Hopping and Ramon Mayo for helping me with those!). I know I’m totally partial (because I love the Vineyard and I wrote these) but I just have to say that Vineyard USA did such an amazing job on the design and layout and all of that technical detail stuff. I would have probably printed it on white paper and drew some cartoon characters holding cups (see the picture to the right?).
My prayer is that these booklets would be a blessing to God’s people, specifically those of us in the Vineyard movement (but not limited to those of us in the Vineyard movement!). I also hope that it helps serve as a resource for pastors/churches as they celebrate the Lord’s Supper. I love knowing that as we approach the Lord’s Table to receive the Bread and Cup, the Holy Spirit stirs in us a deeper sense of intimacy and brings to our hearts and minds a variety of truths that point us to God’s love.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.
Hey Luke. How would you ground a theological foundation for who would be allowed at the table? More specifically how would you ground children being able to come to the table without being baptized first, as well as allowing an adult to come to the table without being baptized first?
We have made the eucharist a central aspect of our weekly service and have a high view of it like you do. We allow children at the table with their families at the moment who haven’t been baptized. This seems to be in line with the vineyard movement. But we are departing from 2000 years of church history in doing so. So how do you hold to a high view whilst acknowledging this tension.
Wesley, great question. I’ve actually started a new “series” on this topic over at SpiritChurchMission.com (http://spiritchurchmission.com/blog/2016/05/18/a-how-to-guide-to-celebrating-communion-part-1/).
I’m going to be addressing this over there, so you are totally welcome to chime in. I think I’m going to post weekly, so just check there and you’ll see.
I think Derek Morphew’s “Breakthrough,” in an appendix, lays out why kingdom theology would seem to push back against strict “closed table” praxis. Plus, there have been folks who have taken an “open table” approach throughout history, so I’m not sure 2000 years of church history would disagree with our practices 🙂
Simple answer, however, is: Sacramental Theology.
Let’s dialogue more!