Continuing discussion on the relationship between Word and Table in worship, I want to share some thought with you from a friend of mine, Dan Hammer. Dan is a worship leader for a church in Seattle, Washington and has a way of thinking theologically through issues in very unique and powerful ways. Talking with Dan some about how Word and Table have a reciprocal relationship in worship, he offered these thoughts:
Something I've been pondering lately is that weaved into the cosmos is the reality when God speaks his word, that word is given concrete material articulation (ie: Genesis 1 – God said let there be light, and there was light.) God who is spirit speaks and his word becomes flesh. John 1 and Hebrews 1 both connect Jesus as the living Word to the creation of the universe.
I wonder if this reality connects also to this discussion that the Service of the Word speaks God's Word and in the Service of the Table, that Word becomes "flesh" (material). The reality isn’t so much about primacy of one over the other, but that material articulation is the unavoidable outcome of the word spoken. To end worship with only the Word tells the story that God's Word returns to him empty.
If we're receptive, the Service of the Word will bring about a head/heart response – rarely a bodily response in the moment. But our bodies lead our participation when we come to the Table – coming forward, tasting, touching, smelling, seeing, hearing – while our hearts are involved too. Our heads are much less so. Perhaps modernity's favoring of the intellect, and even the emotions, over the embodied material has led to the de-emphasis of the Table in worship.