My mom sent me this quote from Shauna Niequist on how we come to the table (from her book Bread and Wine):
We don’t come to the table to fight or to defend. We don’t come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children. We allow someone else to meet our need. In a world that prides people on not having needs, on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through, the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel. If the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating center, the sustainer of life and health.
This is the posture we are trained into when we participate in the Eucharist. In our church we instruct people to come with hands open to receive the bread, rather than hands grasping to “grab” some bread. We allow someone else to serve us and meet our need as we come in a posture of dependence and vulnerability.
It’s interesting, though, how easy it is for people to slip back into “grabbing” the bread. There really is some training and reframing happening as we remember to open our hands to receive grace as the priest offers us the body and blood of Christ in bread and wine.