Lingering at the Table
Here’s a devotional thought I wrote a while back to be used in a communion service. It’s been on my heart for some time…I hope it blesses you this day!
Growing up the best time of any family gathering was the meal, the time gathered with family around the table….food had been prepared, maybe it was turkey, or ham, or steak, or fried chicken, or roast beef, or burgers and hotdogs…vegetables covered in butter and sometimes cheese, and the always present, fresh baked rolls. All of which was soon to be followed by the ultimate moment, dessert…pumpkin pie, cherry pie, apple pie, chocolate cream pie, maybe a cake, or a cobbler, topped with ice cream or mountains of cool whip. Can you see it? Can you smell it? Can you taste it?
The meal, as good as it was, however, was always secondary to the gathering of the family. The community of kinship. The expressions of love, care, and concern flowed. Family. The community of love. Never perfect. Sometimes a bit dysfunctional. Always entertaining. Family at the table. And we would linger there…overly familiar stories retold again and again as if it was the first time. Memories were made and the foundations of relationship were laid. The table; the sacred space of the family.
Fast food, convenient and easy. No prep time. No clean up. In and out and done. Fast food, instant gratification. So tempting. Inside the restaurant, kids on the playground and parents on their smartphones. Or just drive through, pick it up, eat it before the first stop light. You know you’ve done it. Fast food. Often eaten in isolation. Often eaten in direct disobedience of the doctor’s ‘suggestion.’ Fast food fills the stomach and destroys the body…hurts the soul. No sacred space here. No stories told. No family history shared or embraced. The family table diminished in the name of convenience. In – out – done. No lingering here.
Two choices before us this day, every day, a decision to make, at which table will we gather? The feast has been laid. The table is set. The meal prepared. The family gathers. Gathers at a table: sacred or profane? A decision to make…which table?
The Lord’s Table beckons us to come. Beckons us to gather at the family table; the banqueting feast of Jesus. At the Table of the Lord, we enter into that sacred space as family. At the Table of the Lord we hear and embrace again the story, our story, our history, our hope: Jesus. Jesus calls us to the table of grace and forgiveness and immense Love. At this table the mystery becomes tangible; bread and wine, body and blood, hope and redemption. Sacred space created for the intimacy of a relationship with the Divine to be nurtured. A sacred space where we are saturated with grace. We are family gathered at the Table of the Lord.
Don’t rush away from the table. Don’t run from it. Don’t hurry on to the next thing, the next appointment, the next task…keep mind, body, and spirit focused here. At the Table. With the family. In the presence of Jesus.
And linger awhile…
Linger in the presence of the One who loves you more than you will ever know…
Linger at His table and hear again His story, your story…
Linger awhile and experience the love of the family of faith…
Linger, and know you are forgiven, redeemed, and welcome here…
Linger, at the table…of the LORD!
Amen, and Amen.
Grace and Peace,