In Around the Table, R. Scott Hurd uses his imagination fueled by scripture, archeology, traditions, and stories to tell the story of the first Eucharist from the point of view of the first disciples. Each chapter is a short story about various characters such as Cleopas, one of the disciples on the road to Emmaus; or Matthew, the tax collector as he looks back on his life; or Mark, whose family home was the site of the the upper room for the last supper. There is a story of Mary, the Mother of Jesus looking back on the last supper as the wedding feast of her Son, and Mary Magdalene, reflecting on the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Each story brings a different facet of the Eucharist to the fore through the life of his disciples. The stories are simply written, and easy to understand and enter into, and they provide a journey to meet friends of Jesus who tell us a little about their lives. In so doing, they tell us about their relationship with Jesus and how they continue to encounter him under the species of bread and wine.
This book is wonderful for those who want to just reflect on the meaning of the Eucharist without struggling through complex theological or philosophical writing. Each chapter gives a summary of the disciple whose story will to be told, and it then tells the story in simple and imaginative ways. Each chapter ends with couple of questions for reflection, discussion or journaling and concludes with a prayer.
Around the Table is easy enough for high school students, and the stories are interesting enough for adults. In addition, the process of reading the stories is also a way to learn to pray with scriptures. Just like the author, you can read a familiar bible story and imagine yourself in the shoes of a major or minor character, and use your imagination to look around, discover what it might have looked like, smelled like, sounded like, what would the food taste like and what textures would you be able to feel as you touch clothes or tools or walk across the road …
Enter into Scripture and history to deepen your understanding of how the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity through the lives of those who walked with him.