I have a beautiful dining room table.  Bought a few years back from one of my favorite stores, World Market.  It is 7' feet long and 38' wide with 6 chairs that fit around it.  It was produced in South America and is made of a wood native to that part of the world.  Its crowning glory is its rough hammered table top surface which gives it a very free spirited look and feel.  Big solid rounded legs grace the four corners causing it to weigh a ton!  I am fairly convinced that two or three people could stand on it - like a bar, do some dancing and it would hold.  Though I have never tried it - yet:)  There have been many instances where people have gathered around this table - neighbors, friends, family.  It has seen many a meal, many bottles of wine, cups of coffee, pieces of pie.  It has doubled as a huge desk around tax time when my stacks of receipts are spread out.  It has been used for roll out sugar cookies with sprinkles adorning it and frosting everywhere.  It has at times, been a bit of a catch-all for mail, things that need to be processed the next couple of days, things I am too tired to put in their proper place occasionally.  My favorite thing to do with the table is to have it full of those I love dearly.  My husband brought a picture into our marriage and it hangs in the dining room.  I love what it says,

"Around this table we are grateful for the dedicated & diligent hands which labor over our food.  Around this table we acknowledge that why we are eating is as important as what we are eating.  Around this table we recognize the value of our choices and take our food with joy and pleasure.  We celebrate the health and memories which are built around this table.  Life is a mysterious meal:  consume it with wonder."

There is something very intimate about eating around a table with someone.  I suppose in some regard, it is a way of inviting someone into this very common, everyday thing we do - eat.  It's a connecting point.  On the other hand, it is also very intimate being invited to share food with someone - a sign of affection, care, love, grace, etc.   How many dates have been had over a meal?  My first date with my now husband was at a restaurant for dinner.  We closed the restaurant down at 11:15 p.m.:)   My side of the family have their fair share of family gatherings; birthdays, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, just for anyhow meals.  Most of those in my extended family are on the personality chart, R's (relational), so the volume can get loud around the table.  Loudness, multiple conversations and much laughter dominate the table.  The first time my husband Doug was at my parents for a family function, I think the volume amazed him.  He commented later that he couldn't believe the amount of different conversations that were all going on at the same time.  I've had business lunches, meetings that take place over a meal.  On some level I think that meal helps relieve the pressure, adds a dimension of informality, humanness to the person-the meeting-the business relationship.  I have always found it interesting that when Jesus rose from the grave one of the avenues that He chose to present himself to his disciples was on a shoreline cooking fish waiting on them to return from fishing.  He used that meal, post resurrection, to restore the disciple Peter with love after he denied He knew Christ during the crucifixion.  Just like Jesus used the last supper - the Passover meal - with His disciples before his ultimate arrest and crucifixion to speak truth and love and show grace.  Christ used the medium of a "table and a meal" to show love, to connect to those He loved.  It appears that meals and tables are still used in our culture much the same way.   What are you doing Thursday night?  Want to come to dinner?

1 comment:

  1. I love that statement, "Life is a mysterious meal; consume it with wonder."!