I was recently walking past the construction taking place in the foyer of our church and noticed some of the pews and other pieces of furniture were out of place. The large communion table normally at the front of the church was now sitting in the hallway, and when I saw it I laughed out loud. It was not the table itself that was funny, but reading the inscription on the front brought back the memory of an episode years ago concerning a similar table. As a result of the table from my past I was able to correct some faulty theology.
As a young boy about six years old, I was fairly regular in attendance at First Baptist Church in El Dorado, Arkansas. My grandfather, Dr. J.A. Moore had been one of the important lay leaders of this large downtown church. I was told he served as a deacon for many years, and I could also read his name on some of the plaques commemorating the illustrious past accomplishments of the church. My father, Dr. Berry Moore didn’t meet the qualifications to serve as a deacon and was sporadic in attendance, but he made sure that Mom had my sister and me in church on a regular basis.
The church was large and impressive in the architecture and the expense of all of the furnishings. In the front of the auditorium was a beautiful carved communion table which must have weighed several hundred pounds. Inscribed on the front edge of the table in very ornate letters were the words, “In Remembrance of Me.” I was impressed with the size and beauty of the table but was especially impressed when someone told me the table had been a gift to the church from my grandfather. By this time he had died, so I couldn’t ask him questions which a young boy might ordinarily not understand about such a table. I just accepted what I had been told and believed he had given a generous sum of money to purchase this expensive table. For me it was always a matter of familial pride when I was in church and saw that table right up front.
A few years later as a pre-teen I walked into the sanctuary with one of my buddies, and he asked me if what the words on the table meant. I was prideful I usually had answers to the questions which were asked in Sunday school concerning things about church and the Bible. I told him that it had been a gift from my grandfather years ago, and it was in remembrance of him. My buddy only said, “OK.” A deacon standing nearby who had heard my response said, “Yes, that table was a gift from your grandfather. However the inscription is not referring to remembering your grandfather but to remember Jesus. He is the reason for having the table, the church and everything else.” I was embarrassed I had to be corrected in my theology.
Following my spiritual conversion years later God began opening my eyes to truths which have helped me worship Him with more reverence and devotion. I am grateful for the heritage of faith from my grandfather and others, and still have familial pride over his love gifts to that church. But when I read those words inscribed on any communion table I know they are reminders for me and others to remember the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only One worthy of remembrance, because He gave His life so we might have life and have it more abundantly. John 10:10
This one made me giggle! I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard this one before. I’ll never look at another Communion table the same again. I just had no idea they were all in remembrance of J.A.!!
Granddad was sure generous to have placed one of those tables in so many churches! 🙂