Come to the Table
Some of my best memories are times spent with people I care about over a shared meal. While growing up my family ate together regularly, a tradition my husband David and I have tried to maintain with our family. Often get-togethers with friends include a shared meal. Gathering around the table is not only nourishment for the body, but also nourishment for relationships. Coming to the Lord’s Table is nourishment for our souls and is also about relationships, both with God and one another.
Growing up our meals often included vegetables grown in our garden, iced tea and mama’s homemade biscuits or cornbread. Dessert was often molasses and butter sopped up with another of mama’s homemade biscuits. My sisters and I enjoyed counting how many biscuits Daddy would eat with his supper! Sunday dinners after church included an especially bountiful meal and it was not uncommon for the preacher and family and other friends and relatives to join us, there was always plenty to share. We all looked forward to the occasions when Grandma Cameron decided it was time to make a big pot of chicken ‘n dumplin’s. She would cook a hen (because it made better broth), prepare dumplin’s from scratch and the ordeal seemed to take all day. I have fond memories of pulling up a stool before I was tall enough to reach the counter to help her roll out and cut the dough and add it to the rolling broth at just the right time so the dumplin’s wouldn’t stick. People would come out of the woodwork to enjoy Grandma’s dumplin’s.
I must admit that I have never worried about where my next meal was coming from. I’ve never experienced real hunger for food, and for the most part times gathered around the table with family and friends have been positive experiences. Meals are where we share about our day or catch up since the last time we gathered. We come as separate individuals and we regain our identities as a part of something bigger, as family or a circle of friends.
I realize this is not everyone’s experience. Some have not always had enough food to go around and may not have had a table to gather around in their own kitchen. Others may have had plenty of food but the memories around the table may not be pleasant if the conversation did more to tear down rather than build up relationships.
I thank and praise God for the Lord’s Table where (at least in the tradition of the Methodist Church) ALL of God’s people are welcome! And ALL people are God’s people! I have participated in the Eucharist with varying degrees of preparation and reverence over the years and in many different settings. Each and every time God has met me there with the grace that I do not deserve and I am grateful. What I’m most grateful for is that there is plenty of bread and wine to go around and plenty of grace to go along with it. Come to the table! All are welcome!
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