When I was a kid my mom loved to have people over for dinner. I can remember setting the table and preparing to host someone. I learned how to have conversation around a table. I learned how to love around a table. I learned how to invest in the lives of others around a table. Since then I’ve had an affinity for the table. And in recent years I’ve been struck by the significance of the table within the text of scripture.
In the Hebrew tradition, the table was used a sign of God’s blessing. When the table was spoken of, people would hear blessing and favor. For example in Psalm 23 when the psalmist wrote, “He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemy.” It was heard, God prepares blessing in front of me while my enemies are present.
The table through out Jesus’ ministry was a place he gathered people and blessing came to them! In the stories of Jesus I am struck by the many times we encounter him at a table. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. He went home to eat with Zacchaeus. He dined with his followers at many tables, his feet were washed by a woman while he sat at a dinner table. His love for people was communicated often through his gathering people around a table.
We continue to live in this blessing when we gather around the Table of the Lord sharing in the meal of communion. A meal where we commune with Jesus as we share in his life and death and resurrection until he comes again. Blessing.
In our homes, our tables are a gathering place to experience and give blessing. As we invite others to join us at the table, we recognize their humanity and we breathe dignity into their lives as we include them in the sharing of the blessing.
How often do you eat at the table? What happens at your table? Is it a sacred place?
This week we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, the events that enable us to come to the table of blessing. So why not invite others to come to the table with you, and invite a friend, co-worker or neighbor to dinner. As you share in the blessing of communion with Jesus at the table, give it away to others! There isn’t much better than a full table.