The Tale of the Table – June 30, 2023
We are so excited to finally be in Detroit and at Mariners’ Church! We want to thank you all for the gracious welcome we have received. We are eager to learn each of your stories and share with you ours.
One place where we want to hear more of your story and get to know each one of you is the dinner table. We look forward to having you over to our home, being in yours, or grabbing a bite out. The dinner table has a prominent place in Scripture (Gen 18, Ex 12, John 12, Luke 14, Mark 2, 1 Cor. 10:27), including the communion table’s original context (John 13-17).
Our actual dinner table had a bit of a story this month. We moved into a fourth floor apartment until we can find a home to buy. There is an elevator for most of our belongings, but our solid 9 ft long dinner table wouldn’t fit – much to the dismay of our movers! These strong men reluctantly began the long-haul up the staircase. After one flight of stairs, the space between the rail and ceiling became more narrow and we were stuck. The movers said they couldn’t go any further until the big wooden legs were removed.
I sat in this hot stairwell trying to figure out how to take apart our jigsaw puzzle of a dinner table. I looked at the clock and realized I only had the movers for a little longer. I lacked the proper tools and time, and in my effort to do this quickly I ended up breaking part of the table leg. My first thought was “Christiane is going to hate this!”.
I also hated looking at one of our favorite pieces of furniture, broken. I finally shared the news of the table with her when we were several days into the long week of driving from Colorado. At that point, she was tired and more concerned about our bodies, not our table, making it in one piece.
It took me hours to glue, screw, and dowel the leg back on, but in the end the table is fixed. It is a relief to know that we will be able to gather with friends, around this table, for food, conversation, and prayer. Knowing that life-giving relationships will be built and nurtured around it.
This story, of course, is a metaphor for what it’s like to have intentional and deep relationships with others. It’s not always easy to gather around the table. We come from different backgrounds, different experiences, different opinions about things that matter (and even things that don’t matter much in the grand scheme of life). Sometimes people feel ‘pressed against walls’. Maybe it has to do with their finances, health, emotional, or spiritual state. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, someone walks away hurt.
I want to remind all of us to be gentle with ourselves and with others. Sometimes we need to reassess the situation. Be open and willing to engage in being the one who offers help, as well as the one who receives help. If we all do this we will certainly find our dinner guest list expanding to those we never thought we could befriend!
As you will hear from us time and time again, we are made in the image of God, therefore relationships with others are some of the first chances those far from God can see Him ‘in flesh’ – Christ in us. It is important that as we point people to the One who can perfectly love them, that we can reflect a portion of the love He gives us. In loving people well, we will see them drawn, not to personalities or programs, but to Him. Hope to see you soon around a table!