I have just completed the table that accompanies the lectern I wrote about earlier for the Boston University School of Theology. The folks I have been working with on this at the School are now assembling it for use in the University’s Marsh Chapel and other locations where they want to gather for worship.
The table is a double dropleaf round table built to center worship for the School community. Its base is made of black walnut with holly inlays. The top is made of maple. The curved upsweeping legs remind us of the act of lifting up our hands and hearts in praise and thanks. The top creates a circle that declares the equal participation of all in the act of worship. The round table, long a symbol of gathering for the negotiation of peace, symbolizes the work of reconciliation at the heart of Christian worship.
In the center of the top is a glass tile mosaic created by Sylvia Johnson Everett. The blue swirling spiral reminds us of the waters of creation and baptism that continually regenerate new life. At its heart is a cross, with its blood red drop of sacrificial love, the green of new life, and the gold of resplendent victory.
The dropleaf design, with the accompanying low lectern, enables someone to preach at the table while seated. This is especially helpful for people in wheelchairs, who received no attention in earlier centuries of worship life. With the addition of the base for the lectern, people can also preach at the table while standing, keeping together the sharing of the word with the sharing of food and drink at the table.
I will now turn to construction of the processional cross that accompanies this table.