Table: a piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs, providing a level surface on which objects may be placed, and that can be used for such purposes as eating, writing, working, or playing games. (dictionary.com)
Table: a place to build relationships.
A table is one of the most basic pieces of furniture. A flat top on one or more legs. A place to put something. Place food on the table, gather a group around it, and it becomes a place for connecting, relating, growing, loving and building.
A show I enjoy is called “Family Dinner” (Andrew Zimmern visits families across the United States to enjoy their family meals and explore how culture influences how and what people eat.) It is such a simple but profound show about how families can be built around sharing a meal from preparation to clean up together. It’s a simple, timeless, cross cultural and cross ethnicity idea – simply sharing a meal together. It is fun to watch the families laugh together, share stories about past meals together or a favorite recipe or the importance of simply being together around a meal and a table.
We are built for relationships, but today there are so many distractions and disruptions in life that keep us from truly making connections to other people. The table is a great place to restore what is missing.
The family meal has been such an important part of our lives together. It is a priority as many nights as we can each week. There’s food. Music is on in the background. We pray. We talk about our days, stories of the week, topics of all sorts. We laugh. Sometimes we disagree. We listen and eat. Then we clean up together. We create memories. We build relationships.
They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.
By this time a lot of men and women of questionable reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.”
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
The Table Strategy is simply the idea of building relationships around tables. Sharing meals together as a family…building relationships with the family of God…spending time with those who don’t know Christ…enjoying the company of others in intentional life-giving ways.
This Sunday, April 30 – we will be sharing food around tables throughout our campus between services - 10:10am or so through 10:45am or so. It is simply a time to try some good foods, get to know some people and just enjoy and have fun. It is about living life around the table. We hope you will come – stay late if you come to the first service; come early if you come to the second service. Meet some people try some new food – help build community & family.
What if we intentionally adopted a Table Strategy of building relationships? Taking time for family around a table? Inviting someone over for dinner? Sharing coffee together? Having a cookout with your neighbors? Meeting at a park and sitting around a picnic table? Starting a Bible study at work at lunch around a table? Inviting someone from church over for a meal? Sharing a favorite dish, something simple, something delicious? There are so many ways to implement it.
The Table Strategy is a way of life that could change our church and community – a meal around a table, one at a time. Let’s dream and eat together!