Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The gathering table

Today’s Reading: Acts 2:1 (NIV)

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

Good morning!

I remember the day I first saw the gathering table on display at the furniture store. The dark wood grain of the table and the soft leather chairs immediately caught my eye. I liked how this table seated eight people comfortably; it took up less space than my own kitchen table; yet, it sat two more people. It was all I could do to dial Jeff’s cell phone quickly enough. “Honey,” I exclaimed, “I’ve found the perfect table for our kitchen!” The salesman provided me with some information on the table; its manufacturer, warranty, and lot number. I carried the materials home for Jeff to review, and I prayed over this table for almost a year before we decided to place our final order. I would say that the selection of a gathering table is the single most important piece of furniture you will ever purchase.

My grandmother’s table was by far, the largest table I had ever seen. It had to be especially made just for her. This table seated sixteen people. It took up the entire room; there was a small perimeter of walking space between the table, chairs, and wood burning stove and sink. I watched my grandmother roll pie dough on this table top; she and the girls would gather around the table to chop vegetables and prepare fruits for canning. It took two people on either side to wipe the table down after meal preparation. There was always room at the gathering table for one more hungry soul. The prayers that were prayed in around this table still resonate in my heart today. Homework was completed here; timeless stories of family and friends were told at the table. My favorite memories were of Saturday nights, when Grandmother would serve piping hot cups of coffee and tea with homemade chocolate chunk cookies to the women and children at the table. Some of us played Canasta and Crazy Eights, while others observed the revelry as they sat crocheting baby blankets and sweaters. There was no place I would rather be than surrounded by my family at the gathering table.

Something extraordinary happens when we come together at the gathering table. On the day of Pentecost, the family was gathered all together in one place. In my minds’ eye, I can see the disciples relaxing around the gathering table, sharing stories of Jesus with each other. They were all together in one place, placing their hopes and fears on the table for all to see. Folks were sitting shoulder to shoulder; some were joining hands while others embraced in holy hugs. No one was turned away from Christ’s everlasting love, freely served to all in the bread and the wine.

My favorite time of the week is when our evangelism team gathers around the gathering table in prayer. Sometimes it feels as if the parsonage roof is going to blow away in the swirling and twirling of His Holy Spirit comfort. Whenever I come to the gathering table, I know my Savior is waiting there for me. He allows me to bring life’s backpack of stuff and dump it out for Him to see. Jesus hears and answers my every prayer. I know that one day His precious family will all be gathered together again in one place at the banqueting table, with Jesus Christ seated at the head. Until then, we come together to share our very lives, enjoying the meal that has been set before us, as we tell the stories of Jesus and wait for the Father’s will to be done at the gathering table.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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