Earlier this week I spent a few days with my family, and friends that are like family, in a lovely house on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains. (Just outside of Cle Elum, if the area is familiar to you.) We didn't do much and that was our plan. With three kids between us we knew we would need to be slow and easy. The only thing we planned each day were meals together. We gathered at a gorgeous raw-edge wood dining table, it was always a little chaotic and messy but it was the highlights of our days.
After the kids went to bed, we took a take a deep breath and gathered back around the table for desert, drinks, popcorn, games, and conversation. One night all the kids woke up at 10:30 pm. As we scrambled to get them back to sleep we abandoned the table spread with glasses, food, and bottles, vaguely reminiscent of college house parties. The next morning I woke up early, in the holy quiet of the house I watched the cloudy sun rise over the misty meadow outside the wall-to-wall windows. At home I would have seen the state of the table and been wholly annoyed, but here it was a reminder and reflection of belonging and love. As I emptied wine bottles, put plates in the dishwasher and wiped away crumbs, a herd of elk passed by the window. I stood in awe; the mess, chaos, love, beauty, wonder, mingled together.
In the Bible there are more stories of Jesus sharing a meal than there are of his death. I can’t help but think that a shared meal was more central to his life and teaching than his death. In his life the table brought people together. In his death the table continues to bring people together.
On Sunday we will prepare for gathering around the table by making bread together. The following Sunday, April 2, we will use the bread for communion as we remember the last time Jesus shared a mea with his friends.
Share this bread among you; this is my body which will be broken for justice. Do this to remember me.
The table is a symbol, a reminder, and reflection of belonging and love.
See you on Sunday, March 25 at 4pm.