In Christianity, we partake of what is called “the Eucharist” or “the Lord’s Supper.” It is a sacrament or ritual of consuming bread and wine and remembering the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
There is a question, though, of just who should partake in this sacrament. Most churches and denominations limit it to baptized believers. The Catholic Church only opens the sacrament to those who are Roman Catholic. (One time I cheated and partook of the sacred elements despite not being a Roman Catholic. It made me fairly nervous, though, such that I didn’t even eat the wafer until I was out in the car in the parking lot!)
I attended a UCC (United Church of Christ) church this weekend, a church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The UCC is at the top of the list of my “denominational sweepstakes giveaway” program; that is, I am considering joining the UCC.
The UCC has an open table. The Eucharist is open to all, believer or non-believer. I like this. I like it even more after seeing their “invitation to communion and prayer of consecration.” Here is what was printed in their bulletin:
“The first time Jesus sat down to this meal, among those gathered there was one who would doubt him, one who would deny him, one who would betray him, and they would all leave him alone before that night was over – and he knew it. Still he sat down and ate with them. If he ate with them, surely he’s ready to eat with us – baptized or not, confessed or not, Christian or not, sure or not, believer or not, saint or sinner or a little of both. All you have to be to eat at this table is hungry.”