Don’t you hate when someone spoils your favorite showby revealing some key piece of plot information? Good grief, I do. I try to avoid these “spoilers,” as they’re called, like the plague but the internet seems to be full of them. They’re like little landmines that you stumble across and, before you know it, your favorite show or movie is ruined. Whether you’re just trying to check your Instagram feed and find out that Jon Snow actually comes back from the dead in the second episode of the sixth season. Oh shoot. Did I just spoil that one for you? I’m sorry. Or, of course, if you innocently check your Twitter feed only to find out from @bachelorettebae92 that JoJo picked Jordan before you could watch it on your DVR. Dang, I did it again. I’m the worst. Where are my manners? I should have used the proper internet etiquette.
Proper etiquette dictates that you inform your reader/watcher/listener of a coming “Spoiler Alert” before you say whatever it is that you’re about to say. That way, they have the opportunity to go and apply the patented hand ear muffs before plot-points in their favorite show, book, movie, etc. are spoiled. Spoiler alerts let us know that something crucial is about to be disclosed that offers a periscope into what is to come in the story. Spoiler alerts aren’t minor details; they offer plot points or information that pushes the consumer into a different epoch, a point of no return.
Have you ever thought of the Lord’s Table as a spoiler alert? It really is if you think about it. At the Lord’s Table all people are called to a central point to receive what God has offered through Christ as one people. No divisive political discussions of “really beautiful walls” or homebrew email servers, just the bread of heaven. No tensions surrounding race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or socio economic status, the cup of salvation is freely offered and consumed by all. We can’t choose who gathers with us at the table like we do so often at our own figurative and literal tables. There’s something so different, so liminal, so moving about the experience of approaching the Lord’s table because it is, of course, a spoiler of what’s to come.
Spoiler alert, in God’s coming reign our petty political squabbles will give way to true cooperation and respect. Voices will be heard so there will be no need to shout. Spoiler alert, in God’s coming reign we will see each other as God sees us, beautiful and unique works of art that reflect the care and creativity of the artist. We will all be able to see the beauty that God made behind the labels we create. Spoiler alert, in God’s coming reign, our figurative and literal tables will be as expansive and inclusive as the Lord’s table to which we are called and fed. No one will be forced to form small groups in order to be heard, feel safe, or be respected. The Holy meal shows us what God’s reign will look like. The love story between God and humankind is spoiled because see, touch, smell, taste, and hear what God’s reign will be like during our short time at the Lord’s table. The spoiler at Christ’s table is amazing.
I hope that the next time you approach the Lord’s table (or if it’s your first time) you can see the sacrament as the incomprehensible love of God for you made tangible. I hope that you can feel the beauty and possibility of joining a community of love in “every time and place.” And finally, I hope that you can see the spoiler of the promise of God’s coming reign at the table and that the spoiler will give you the clarity and strength to go out and do your part as we work alongside God to usher in the reality that is spoiled in the simple and ancient act of breaking bread and sharing a cup.
Andy Morgan is the campus minister at UKirk, the Collegiate Ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Andy is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Union Presbyterian Seminary. Andy is an ordained Teaching Elder (Minister of Word and Sacrament) and a member of the Presbytery of East Tennessee.