Heath Hollensbe

This is the official website of Heath Hollensbe. Heath is a Seattle based follower of Jesus who is learning to love his neighbor as much as he loves himself. And here's where he blogs about it.  

Leaking Sippy Cups At The Communion Table

Luke 22:19 - And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

This blog was a result of me reading these mind blowing words of Jesus. I encourage you to read them.

Growing up, I remember always going over to grandma's house for holidays. It was a rare time that the entire family would get together for a huge meal, games, etc. There was one weirdness to her house that I can remember - she had one room full of furniture... covered in plastic. Each time we visited her house, we were reminded this room was "off limits to children."

As a child, I remember wondering what that room was for. At 31 years old, I still don't get it. And now that I have children of my own, we have very different philosophies on furniture in the house.  Our furniture is not perfect. The couches have various colored stains and markings and springs popping out of the bottom of it. The carpets are dirty with an assortment of unknown spots of various geometric patterns. Our kitchen table has blemishes, crayon marks, and even a few gouges from when our oldest decided that he wanted to venture into the effects of knives on wood. Admittedly, while initially it's frustrating to see perfectly new table become destroyed shortly after it is purchased, over time, I find it to be beautiful. It paints a story of our children growing up. It tells the history of our family. There are memories gouged and scratched into that table. Each one flashing back to memories of laughter, conversation, frustration, anger, chaos. If you want a very honest sense of the chaotic mess of my family's house. Just look at our furniture. 

This got me thinking to the way that most modern churches display their "furniture". The objects that tell their history. The baptism tank. The offering plates. The pews. The communion table. 

I've seen many churches place their symbols in a position that, while not directly saying it, implies that those items are very similar to the furniture that my grandma had in the off-limits room. They are exalted and put high on the stage as to signify that they are to be set apart. Holy. Untouched by the hands of mere common people. They are ornately dressed, to be looked at, honored, respected and rarely used (think expensive china in the china cabinet).

Unfortunately, when I see the way Jesus has reached out his hand to us, and invited us to his table, the story looks very different than what most "churches" are modeling. The Scripture I referenced earlier calls us to invite the outcasts, the forgotten, and those who reek of last nights alcohol consumption. 

Sadly, I think many churches miss the mark on communion. In my observations, communion has become a  somber moment meant to be quietly, introspectively  individually processed between you and God. We say that it is "communal" in the sense that everyone is doing it, but not in the sense that it is being done together. Very different. 

Oftentimes it appears that the way we come to the table is as if we have stopped reading the Bible at the Crucifixion. So of course, if the story ends there, we are in deep trouble. Who would not be discouraged if the story ended there? We would all feel Sad. Depressed. Failed.

Like Jesus has left us. 

Fortunately, we are on the other side of history. We know the truth. Christ died. Rose. Ascended. And is coming back.

Communion, should be a foretelling of the wedding feast that is to come (Rev 19:9.). We should remember the death of our Christ. We should remember that a sinless man was brutally butchered, and the blood is on our hands. It was our fault.  That should evoke gratitude, and a somberness. In fact, Scripture reminds us that we should not take of this meal lightly. It should affect us.

However, the story does not end at the death of Jesus. it is so much bigger. Do this in "remembrance" of me, not "in memoriam" of me. 

We cannot cut the narrative of the gospel short. Unfortunately, often times, when it comes to communion, we do. There was a sadness in the story. But that sadness is not the end. This good news is for everybody. Everybody is welcome to come to the table. The table should be approachable. This is a foretelling of a feast to come. It is a celebration. 

Because of that, I am not convinced that the communion table that we finally get to sit at with Jesus is going to be a table that is covered in plastic and off limits. I am certain, that instead, it will covered with crayon marks, leaking sippy cups, and sticky spots from grubby little hands. It will be noisy and chaotic and beautiful. It will be a celebration, a story telling session, of a bunch of jacked up people forever rejoicing that finally they get to be with the one that their heart has always longed for.