“The fellowship of the table teaches Christians that here they still eat the perishable bread of the earthly pilgrimage. But if they share this bread with one another, they shall also one day receive the imperishable bread together in the Father’s house.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 69.
“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.'”- Revelation 20:9
The dinner table is a constant reminder. In commenting on the glories of Christian community, specifically in regards to the “fellowship of the table”, Bonhoeffer is right to call us back to a truth, a truth that should cause us to pause each time we eat together.
This isn’t our home. This world, with all of its beauty, wonderful people, tasty food, and good memories, is simply not our home, for beauty, wonderful people, tasty food, and good memories are not all there is to this place. There is destruction. There are horrible people. There are terrible memories. The good we taste here is but a shadow of the good we will have when our pilgrimage comes to an end. The darkness we experience here only points us to a time when darkness will be no more. We often try to make this place our home, though. We are terrified at the thought of losing everything here. We are paralyzed with fear when dreaming of a possible end to our possessions, our country, or even our lives as if those things are all that there is. We lose faith so easily, because we are oftentimes so busy attempting to plant ourselves in the fading soil of this earth with the end goal of satisfying the cravings of our souls by cramming our mouths with perishable things. The dinner table should cause us to pause and remember. This isn’t our home.
There is another Banquet coming. Do we enjoy the fellowship of the table here? Absolutely. Is it good to be with family, friends, and loved ones? Of course. And if there is so much joy around the sojourning table in the midst of so much suffering, how much more joy will there be around the Banquet Table of the King. This is the picture John’s Revelation gives to us. Here at the end, we find the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. What vivid imagery! Scripture, taken as a whole, causes us to consider the language and imagery of this vision. There is a supper prepared for the Bride of Christ, and the Lamb presides over the whole thing. It is beautiful imagery. The Lamb of Revelation is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). Here, John is given a complete picture of what was revealed to Him in the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Will not the best course of the marriage feast be Christ Himself, offered completely and wholly to the satisfaction of His bride forevermore? Will there be physical food? Probably. But what is physical food without spiritual food? Because of the blood of Christ, the Banquet is opened up to all who would come by faith to it. The dinner table should cause us to pause and remember. There is another Banquet coming.
As we gather around the table, our thoughts should turn elsewhere. Everything we partake in is reminiscent of the end when we shall, individually and corporately, finally arrive after a cold, dark night at the door of our long sought after home and shall be welcomed in out of the cold to finally eat of the best of bread, drink the best of wine, and enjoy the company of our Savior forevermore.