What makes a Table an Altar?

This is a photo of Robert Owen's Altar in the Wagga Art Gallery. When you first saw it did you think that it was an altar? Looks more like a sofa table to me. Yet in the context of a church many call such a table an altar. Makes you wonder why churches conjur up images of animal sacrifices and call such tables "altars".

In the Protestant tradition communion is celebrated as a remembrance of Christ and his intimate last supper with those he loved. Yet even among Protestants these tables are often called altars as people line up to receive a wafer and a sip.

I wonder why Christians cal these altars? What do you think? What make a Table an Altar?

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