time at the table
I am a girl who loves. to. eat. Truly, my most blissful moments in life happen to be when I’m surrounded by people I love, in an incredible restaurant, eating amazing food. The past month has left my calendar full of coffee and dinner dates, time to catch up with friends and community in the States, and start to establish roots here in Charlotte. It’s given me lots of time around the table with those I care about, and its also been the space of a lot of conversation about my blog.
Why is time at the table so significant to you? What’s your vision? Why is food the focus?
Time at the table has always been important to me, but I never understood the weight of its significance until I went to Europe.
In Europe people gather for evening meals for hours. Family dinners occur often. Food is celebrated. Wine and cheese adorn the table. Fresh baked bread is a ritual. People converse without their phones. They laugh and question and commune across the table from one another. The table is a sacred, miraculous place.
Even more importantly to me, Jesus valued time at the table. The last supper was significant because it was the pre-curser to his death on the cross. But don’t miss the significance of the table in that moment: it was a gathering place, signifying shared community. He used the table as a place to start conversation, shocking the religious leaders of His time because He even dined with outcasts and marginalized people in their society.
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
And when I sit with the memory of European dinners and the picture of Jesus dining with the tax collectors and sinners, my eyes can’t help but tear up because I think so often in this fast-paced, individualistic, self-obsessed culture we are missing it. It’s easy to spend a week, or even a month, without sitting across the table from someone else. We are working, striving, and achieving, at the cost of connecting.
To make matters worse, how often in the post-modern Christian church do we miss opportunities to sit across the table from someone who’s different? How often do we sit at a table, and refuse to pull up an extra chair because it’s uncomfortable?
I wrestle with these questions, and so much more.
Because here’s the gospel: Jesus always has a place for you at His table.
Your sexual brokenness doesn’t make God leave the table.
Your drug abuse doesn’t make God leave the table.
Your materialism doesn’t make God leave the table.
Your depression doesn’t make God leave the table.
Your scarred wrists don’t make God leave the table.
Your sexual orientation doesn’t make God leave the table.
Your greed doesn’t make God leave the table.
Your shame doesn’t make God leave the table.
Jesus is there, waiting on you to join Him face-to-face, not so He can judge you, but so He can meet you where you are. Because He has come, joined our humanity, and offered us a seat at His holy table. He offered ME, broken and shame-ridden a seat.
So I’m back to the question of vision and purpose. Why food? Why is the table significant to me?
Because it is the celebration of culture and diversity.
Because our culture doesn’t value it enough.
Because it brings community.
Because it starts a conversation.
Because it fosters connection.
Because it was used as a ministry tool by Jesus while on earth.
Because it is life-giving.
I am a Christ follower first, but that doesn’t make my blog or my vision exclusive to Christians. I welcome anyone to come to the table, because there IS a place for you here. I don't want to cultivate an online community that's all about myself. We all need people at our table. We all need community to connect with. That's why over the next few months, I'm inviting some women to share this space with me. That's why I write about food & the table & Jesus & community. Because these things provide joy. Because we were made for sharing a space at our table with one another. And we were designed for community and a relationship with Jesus.
So keep reading, subscribe, and if you want to share a meal, don't hesitate to send an email my way. Let's savor this life, together!