Gathering 1- What Does A Common Table Do?
The Four Legs of the Table
What makes life around these tables common is that we all share certain practices. While each Common Table attends to these practices in their own way, it is understood that every Common Table will attend to these practices in some way.
Since the very first day of the church, Christians gathered together around the table in order to celebrate what God was doing in their lives, encourage each other in the faith and share what they had received from God together. As we read in Acts 2:42, the first Christians devoted themselves to 1) The Apostles’ Teachings, 2) The Community, 3) Their Shared Meals and 4) Their Prayers. These basic practices are the legs on which our Common Tables stand.
The Apostles’ Teaching: Most basically, this is the sermon. Each Common Table is a place where the sermon for the week is discussed. If you miss worship, you can catch up on the sermon through the podcast (https://allsaintsumc.squarespace.com/sunday-mornings-1/). For discussion questions, visit the Common Tables page on our website (https://allsaintsumc.squarespace.com/common-tables/) or use the 5 C’s (in the “best practices” section of this document).
Community: Being present is a big part of life around The Table. Devoting ourselves to showing up is one of the most basic, yet most profound aspects of table life. The Calendaring and Covenant activity in this document can help your table in this.
Shared Meals: Eating for Christians is a theological act. It is a sharing in how God has provided for us. It is an offering and reception of hospitality. It is opening our homes and ourselves up for others to come and share in life with us. The best practices section of this document can help guide how your table shares meals together.
Their Prayers: Sharing together in deeper communion with God is the heart of Common Tables. This is the place to encourage each other in the practice of prayer (paying attention to what God is doing in us and around us) engage in the discipline of prayer (using our shared daily liturgy, https://allsaintsumc.squarespace.com/daily-prayer/) and hold one another accountable to being faithful to what we are hearing God say as we grow in our shared life of prayer.
- Which of the four legs of the table draws you most?
- Which of the four legs of the table is most daunting to you?
- What are you most hopeful for from this Common Table?
- Create a Covenant to attend to the four practices of the table. For an example of a Common Table Covenant, click here.
- Plan when and where your table will gather again.
- Take joys and concerns from the group.
- Pray for what was shared.