Monday, December 04, 2006

Symbolism of King Arthur's Round Table

Symbolism of Arthur's Round Table

This link was added to the Round Table site early was quite interesting in the respect that it illustrates the historical link between the Round Tables of Arthur and The Holy Grail with the Table of the Last Supper. When this on-line Round Table was first conceived, I had King Arthur and his knights in mind, and the Round Table was a symbol of the even-handed discourse and analysis we hoped for. I did not recognize the broader relationship until I discovered this site later on.

I re-read it today, and find it ever more interesting. In particular, this paragraph...

Round Table as a symbol of the world: In the 13th-century Queste del Saint Graal, Malory's source for his "Sankgreall," another interpretation of the symbolism is given. An anchoress tells Perceval: "You are well aware that the world has seen three great tables. The first was the Table of Jesus Christ, where the apostles often ate. . . . After that table there was another built like it and in remembrance of it. That was the table of the Holy Grail. . . After that table there was the Round Table build by Merlin, which was not established without a high spiritual meaning. That it is called 'the Round Table' suggests the roundness of the earth, the spheres of the planets, and the elements of the firmament. . . so that one can justly say that the Round Table means the world. (La Queste del Saint Graal, ed. Albert Pauphilet (Paris, 1975), pp. 74-76.

The Round Table means the world. Think about that, the vision of Our Lord presiding over the entire world, all people seated at a table, within his sight and hearing. Have you ever wondered about how you would have felt, and acted, if you had been present at that Last Supper with Christ?

Now, realize that you are at that Table, and Christ is watching and listening to your every word and action. Who will be faithful to him in these last hours? Who will be distracted by the meal, or idle chatter? Who will slip out to desert or betray him?

We are all at the Round Table every moment of our lives. We make decisions by the moment. Jesus knows our hearts in each and every moment...and he knows when we ignore or dishonor him. Is that a too heavy burden? I think not; Jesus Himself carries the burden when it gets too heavy for us...but we must acknowledge His Presence and submit the burden to Him.

As head of this Round Table, we bow down to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and we look to Him for our mission. Ignorant but faithful knights and peasants took the cross for him centuries ago, as did learned men, and have continued to take the cross for Him up to this day, inspired by love for Him and this verse...

Mark 10:21 (King James Version)

Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

It is interesting that "take up the cross" has been deleted from the NIV translation of that verse. Negative connotations, perhaps...but the brutal truth is that Jesus asks us to sacrifice ourselves to His Cause, even as He sacrificed himself to ours. Who are we if we deny that calling?

Knights of the Round Table have taken up the cross for centuries. In each and every age, they have been inspired to different means and ends, with different weapons of the Spirit. We cannot now measure or judge their actions; that was done by Our Lord in their own time. Even as He now measures and judges us.

Repent, commit, and obey the call of Our Lord. He is the Master of Light, and His is the Way to Eternal Life, the one thing no other master or spirit can offer. Seek Him and ye will find...and your place at the Eternal Round Table, in the loving presence of Jesus, will be yours forever.


  1. Sir Chuck
    Good admonishment. We all need to be encouraged to do those things that please God and to do them ever more diligently.

    I did some research about the missing “take up the cross.” Apparently there are some minor differences in the various manuscripts that comprise the New Testament, and I am not talking about the phony Da Vinci Code things. These words are also left out of the New American Standard Bible as well.

    I don’t think it is due to NIV scholars not being able to accept the word of God, but, rather, a choice of manuscripts. They seem content to leave a very similar passage in Matthew

    “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mat 16:24 NIV

    I looked for more information on the internet about the manuscripts and the choices of translators but have not come up with much yet. I find this interesting and plan to do more research. The NASB often contains footnotes as to whether or not other manuscripts carry certain words.

    We don’t need to shake our faith about this. I am told that there are not any differences that would change our doctrine in any significant way. I think what happened is that some scholar years ago made some note to himself and the translation took it as scripture. As in the example above, a text missing from one passage can often be found in another.

    Sir John, amateur researcher.