The TABLE is a new, less formal worship service that was launched on September 18 at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville. I’m a regular attendee and I’ve been asked exactly what it is I like about The TABLE.
First, I don’t prefer the TABLE over the formal worship service, but I do like it. They both have their own rhythm and beauty and shouldn’t be compared. But there is a different “feel” about The TABLE that I find very appealing.
Here are a few things that resonate with me:
It’s like I’ve been invited over to a friend’s house for dinner. With the room set with just 162 chairs, worshipers in the first row are just a few feet from The Table, the music and the Celebrant.
More casual dress. In the early “church”, people congregated in homes coming straight from the marketplace or field, longing to hear the word and be with other believers. The common people didn’t have time or money to change into more elegant clothes for dinner.
A real loaf of bread reminds me of how the early Christians would have celebrated the Eucharist.
The band and singing have a contemporary approach with Christian songs that I hear on the radio on The Fish (94 FM) and The Way-FM (88.7 FM). Not growing up Episcopalian, the “old, familiar” hymns aren’t that old and familiar to me. I know all the words to the songs at The TABLE because I sing along in the car during the week. The songs tie my weekday to my Sunday worship and I’m reminded that my faith isn’t just something I do on Sunday.
The homily feels more like a conversation than a sermon. Today, Rev. Leigh Spruill gave a homily on Steve Jobs and Matthew 22:1-14 and we were reminded how excited everyone is about Apple product launches, yet when the king invited his friends to his son’s wedding, no one came. Many lessons here, but one is that when the slaves went out, they invited everyone to the wedding feast, the bad and the good, just as Jesus invites all of us to come to Him with the free offer of the gospel. (click here to listen to the homily- Oct. 9, The TABLE).
I see a lot of youth and high schoolers in attendance and singing the songs. The future of Christianity rests in this next generation; it is glorious to see them actively engaged in the service.
With the words to the songs and prayers on the videoscreen, I enjoy saving God’s resources (trees) as the service bulletin is only one page instead of four.
I attend church in our chapel every morning at weekday services from 7-7:30AM with the more formal worship style of vested clergy and kneeling at the altar rail to receive Holy Communion with precut wafers. So, one day per week, on Sunday, I like the less formal feel of The TABLE.
For whichever worship style you like, will you come join us?
Blessings, my friend,