Before people move house or before they are going on a long trip many like to gather with family and friends. Having been to a number of these gatherings over the years, I always love how they end up at the kitchen table or the dining table – looking around at the smiling faces, the looks of those reflecting on a memory being talked about, the couples giving each other a look, a smile, a kiss… Of course, such nights are always documented in photographs and books of messages – both embarrassing and some that bring a tear to your eye…

It is such memories that firm the bond between friends and loved ones – something symbolic so our love and friendship will be remembered and our life will be recalled and cherished.

Jesus left no such mementoes by which to be remembered.  Instead He left something greater; He left Himself present to all. The meal of bread and wine, The Last Supper, is much more than a farewell party, more than a sacrament; even more than a religious obligation – it’s a unique spiritual event through which Christians experience His presence and during which the redemption of humankind that He brought about by his life, death and resurrection is re-enacted and renewed.

Through faith in Jesus Christ we become one. As the bread is broken and the cup is shared, we celebrate this and commit ourselves to imitate Him and continue His mission to transform the world – a world where all are welcome to share in the feast…

When my father was growing up as a boy of the Manse he spoke fondly of the tradition that Grandma Fleming used to have. She always set a seventh place at the table for dinner for the unexpected guest. I loved the idea of this. What came to mind soon after thinking about this was the memories that this table must have had – the expected and the unexpected… sadness and joy… prayers, laughter and tears…

We live in a time where fewer families are eating together around the table. The opportunities to share these memories are reducing. So tonight, I wanted to do something with everyone present as part of a family – part of Christ’s family while we had a chance to retain some of the memories we had.

I invited everyone to take a pen and write on a tablecloth; to think of a memory that they treasured from a time at the table – a bit of news, a special meal, that project they helped with that took all night, but was worth it to see the look on a child’s face as they took it into school the next day…

This evening we took a moment to fill two tablecloths with the memories we have created around the table so that they may be immortalised in the fabric.

Whatever your memories are of a night around the table, may you cherish them forever just as the disciples cherished that last supper…

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