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9/25/05

God and Man at Table Are Sat Down...

My favorite part of Sunday corporate worship (or, "going to church") is not the sermon--even when it's great--but the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. This event is known as Communion, the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper, and various other names. If you're not familiar with it, I'm not going to give you a theological exposition of what it is; other people have already done a better job than I could do (I'd reccommend Keith Mathison's book, "Given for You"). Most people, I think, are at least vaguely familiar with what I'm talking about. It's the time in a Christian worship service when the congregation eats a little wafer, cracker, or piece of bread and takes a drink of juice or wine. According to the Bible, the Lord's Supper is both something we do and something God does. When we partake, we declare the Lord's death--in other words that Jesus died in the place of His people, of us. But more importantly than what we are doing is what God is doing. Basically, God has promised to work spiritual blessing in us when we take part in the sacrament by faith. That is why it is sometimes referred to as a means of grace. It is a way in which God gives us a gift of blessing that we don't deserve or work for.

When we participate in the Lord's Supper we are in God's presence in a special way. That's one of God's promises too. And, one of my favorite aspects of the sacrament is that it is a unifying event. Not only uniting God with His people, but also His people with one another. That's why it's called Communion. If you are a Christian, then you've experienced--and if you're not, you've surely noticed--that Christians often struggle with infighting. Sometimes this bickering is over very important matters--yet other times over very trivial ones. But, when we meet together to have the Lord's Supper, any other issues are set aside. Whatever God's people may disagree about, when we come together around this sacrament we are united in our total dependance upon Jesus for our life and breath, our salvation and everything we have. Even better, we're not just united amongst the people gathered in our little church sanctuary, our denomination, among Protestants or Catholics, or even among all Christians living in the world today. Rather, all of God's church universal and eternal is communing one with another in a meal presided over by our Savior Jesus. If this sounds cheesy to you, then you haven't experienced it. And, I would invite you to check out a local church that preaches the Gospel and check out what goes on.

At our church, during Communion, the musicians lead in music and the congregation joins in singing. Today, we sang a new song that speaks of these truths, which I totally fell in love with. Part of the beauty of a song, of course, is the music, so just copying down the words won't communicate to you what I experienced. But, I thought the words were good so I'm going to copy them for you anyway.

God and Man at Table Are Sat Down

O, welcome, all ye noble saints of old
As now before your very eyes unfold
The wonders all so long ago foretold.
God and man at table are sat down.

Worship in the presence of the Lord
With joyful songs and hearts in one accord.
And let our Host at table be adored.
God and man at table are sat down.

Elders, martyrs, all are falling down;
Prophets, patriarchs are gath'ring round.
What angels longed to see now man has found:
God and man at table are sat down.

Beggars, lame, and harlots also here;
Repentant publicans are drawing near.
Wayward sons come home without a fear.
God and man at table are sat down.

Who is this who spreads the vic'try feast?
Who is this who makes our warring cease?
Jesus, Risen Savior, Prince of Peace.
God and man at table are sat down.

When at last this earth shall pass away,
When Jesus and his Bride are one to stay,
The feast of love is just begun that day.
God and man at table are sat down.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a marvelous song to have a communion service with. I remember one I was a participant in on Christmas of 1983 in HorseHeads, New York. There were about 50 to 75 of us gathered together and we all had broken off a piece of bread and we each had a goblet filled with wine. As the acoustical guitars were playing we were singing and exchanging bread and wine with everyone. It was a marvelous memory. We enjoyed ourselves and the Lord for well over an hour !!!

How excellent is His Name !!!

Zadok

Anonymous said...

The song was actually written by Robert Stamps, or "Pastor Bob" as we knew him. He wrote this song in the 80's while he was the campus chaplain at Oral Roberts Univesity. Pastor Bob had an appreciation and insight into communion like none I have ever met (as the lyrics to the song attest).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is right: "God and Man at Table Are Sat Down" was composed by the Rev. Dr. Robert J. Stamps, former Chaplain of ORU. I don't know who Christopher Miner is, but if he's claiming credit for the hymn then he's stealing someone else's work and passing it as his own. Hopefully, this is simply an error in attribution and not a deliberate fraud.

The Rev. D.R. Wilson
Boise, ID

nickg said...

Okay, okay--my mistake. I've taken out my original attribution, but I'm leaving the comments.

Anonymous said...

You probably are not aware of this, but these words, as far as I can tell, are under copyright by Dawn Treader Music, copyright year 1972. It is actually illegal to reprint them without permission from the copyright holder, but I am having a hard time locating Dawn Treader. Does anyone know of a hymnal in which this is printed so I may get further copyright information?

nathan said...

I am looking for the original cd of god and man at table. it includes about 10 songs but can't remember who did it and what they are. but want to buy whole cd

Anonymous said...

I was a student at ORU during "Bro. Bob" Stamp's tenure as Campus Chaplain. In about 1975 or 76, the university published a softcover hymnal for use in Christ Chapel, and this hymn was included. As an alumnus, I have called the Alumni Affairs office twice trying to secure a copy of this hymnal for many reasons (one of which is this song) . . . but apparently it is no longer in use, and no one can tell me what became of the old copies. I am sad.

Anonymous said...

This is my favorite communion hymn. I'm an oru alum and brother bob stamps brought to many of us a new understanding of meeting Jesus at table. I'm glad it was still a "new" dong in 2005!

Anonymous said...

I realize this post is not recent but I just discovered this blog searching for the words to this hymn which we used to sing at a church we attended about 20 years ago. When I read all the verses here they were all familiar to me so I found the hymnal we used to use and there it was listed in the table of contents. It is "Songs of Praise" either the combined edition or volume one published by Servant Publications, Ann Arbor MI. and the copyright is Dawn Treader Music, Pasadena TX.

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Anonymous said...

I am looking for the album or cd of God and man at table are sat down. It was a whole album in the mid seventies. I wish I could find it.

Anonymous said...

Everytime I hear this hymn during communion, I am in tears. The goodness of God just penetrates my heart, hearing this hymn. I wish the church would sing the entire hymn not just parts of it. The entire hymn tells of a wonderful story.

John Desaulniers, Jr. said...

For those wanting legal licensing of this wonderful song - http://www.capitolcmglicensing.com/LicensingPages/SongDetails.aspx?SongId=13071&SSong=god%20and%20man%20at%20table%20are%20sat%20down

Kathryn Arnold Rask said...

Wow, was I surprised not only to find the lyrics to this wonderful hymn, but also to see fellow ORU students who shared the tremendous communion experience under the leadership of dearly beloved Pastor Bob Stamps. The Spirit of God was so strong in those meetings- it came close to what I imagine the Upper Room encounter was like. I cherish the memory of those times, and I look forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb where we will sit at table with our Glorified Lord in perfect fellowship with Him and with one another!

Kathryn from Florida, ORU 1973

Stephanie Soressi said...

Pastor Bob at Oral Roberts University lied; he is NOT the author.

Stephanie Soressi said...

Brother Bob was always so full of it! Complete Narcissist.

Anonymous said...

who do you think wrote it?

G.K. Chesterton...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."