Come to the Table
I hadn’t thought much about the privilege of being invited to someone’s table.
I found a plastic bin under my bed. When I snapped the top open, I discovered hundreds of loose photographs that needed to be organized.
A special old photo of sitting at a table with my sister caught my eye. She took me house hunting with her during one of my visits to Chicago. We spotted a local housing development that featured beautiful new homes and we inspected the layout of a model home and relaxed in the furniture! The dated photo reveals archaic décor with mauve and gold accessories and paisley drapes. Funny how we drooled over that style several decades ago!
I stared at the photo of us posing at the table. My sister had a way of expressing her affection for me as she raised her glass and toasted: "I am excited you're here with me. I look forward to our upcoming days together shopping, cooking, planning family dinners and casually hanging out together."
Our glasses may have been empty, but I felt loved as we sat there at the table together planning and laughing.
The Invitation at Church
The popular guest speaker at my church last month has a knack for presenting God’s love to his audience. He quoted from the Ninth Chapter of 2 Samuel, the story about David and Jonathan’s close friendship. He articulated a palace scene of the king dining at the table, experiencing true fellowship.
Who Can I Bless?
David asked if any of Jonathan’s relatives survived after war took his friend’s life. Thus enters the character of Mephibosheth. The only remaining son of Jonathan dropped by his nurse as a baby and lame for life, Mephibosheth represents those of us in need of love, acceptance and a savior. King David invites his best friend’s son to come to his table to be cared for and loved.
Our church embraced the message. Many responded by coming to the table for prayer for their depression, for their addictions, for their brokenness or just a touch from God.
That’s Not All!
Our pastor developed a mid-week Bible Study based on this message for those who want to come to the table and hear of God’s love for them every Wednesday night. But that’s not all!
Hours before the mid-week Bible study, our church gym transforms into a dining room feeding anywhere from sixty to seventy-five of us. It takes effort and many hands. Some grill the food, some set up tables, some, usually the guys, carry heavy trays of food to the buffet tables. Some greet at the door, some clean the kitchen and when it’s all over, the group cleans up! Various life groups from our church take a turn every week to make "coming to the table" happen.
Our particular life group put the show on a few weeks ago. The organized details impressed me. Our group enjoyed the adventure of serving.
I experienced something wonderful.
This happened for me
Each member of our life group received a slip of paper telling us when we can break away from our duties and grab dinner at one of the tables. I got in the buffet line with the girl I worked with in the kitchen. We filled our dinner plates and hunted for a seat. Her friend quickly grabbed her at a table leaving me behind. I hadn’t a chance to search for a seat yet when all of a sudden, a new friend tugged my arm and invited me to her family’s table where I not only got to know them better but others who attend our church as well!
The concept never gets old. The invitation to dine with others draws us close not only to each other but to the endless love of God.
Have you dined at the table with anyone recently? I’d love to hear about it!