The Mr and I bought a new kitchen table. It didn’t happen the way we thought it would, but we now have a kitchen table.
See…we walked into our local furniture store chain, looking for new chairs for my office. And the magical word “clearance” beckoned me closer. There it was in all of its clearance glory. We had talked about a new kitchen table. After all, the one we had, Mr had since he was in college. The table, as my parents say, didn’t owe us anything. The price was right and so we bought it. It was delivered to our parsonage today. And it already feels “familiar.” It’s as if this was meant to be our table all along and we didn’t realize it until it was in our house.
And it wasn’t until I posted on Facebook (of all places) that the place of our kitchen table really became clearer to me. And, of course, because I am a pastor, I can’t just look at this like another piece of furniture. (No, not everything I look at has a greater theological meaning, but, come on…it’s a table!!)
Growing up, so many of my memories, good and bad, surrounded the kitchen table. I can see that table as clear as day. In fact, I can see both kitchen tables that I knew clearly in my head. Both round; one with a white/cream top, book ended by my brother and sisters’ high chairs, and brown, now with chairs for all. Everyone had their place at the table. My sister sat across from my father, my brother and I across from my mother. I sat next to dad, sister and brother next to each other. Discussions always surrounded the days events, school, relationships, etc… The discussions weren’t always happy. The meals weren’t always gourmet. But, it was a place we came to be as family. It was rare that we didn’t eat together as family. Even if one person had to eat later because of a sports practice or meeting, usually one other member of the family sat with them. We hardly ever ate dinner not at the table. It’s almost as if within our home, the kitchen table became “home base.”
We dreamed dreams here. We made plans. We did homework. We filled out college applications. I watched my mother do bills at the table every few weeks or so. The Sunday paper was fought over. My husband and I ate left over wedding cake and opened cards there the day after our wedding. My parents were sitting there when we told them we were expecting our daughter. I’ve sat around that table with my best friends. It was a place of comfort during deaths. It was the place we sat when we were told about major job changes. And slowly, a leaf came out. There were less chairs at the table. But, whenever we go “home” that is the place we sit–still in the same spots we always sat at (me between my father and brother). The poor in-laws (my husband and brother in law) are relegated to the bar to sit.
Sure, it’s not comfy or cozy like a sofa or lazy boy, but it’s just as important when thinking about the times of comfort, joy, sorrow, grief, laughter, and love. And now we have a place like this all our own in our new home. Our daughter is young enough that she won’t ever know a time in her life when we didn’t have this table. She will create her own memories at this table. There will be serious discussions. Times of laughter. Games played. New foods tried. Tears over “love” lost. Later there will be homework done. College applications filled out. Her best friends will sit around that table. And eventually, it will get smaller too.
It’s just a table. But, it’s so much more than that. It’s one of the few places I can go where I can be genuinely me. Our kitchen table is a place of acceptance and will be open to anyone. So it is too with the Lord’s table. When you come to feast on body and blood, bread and wine, I hope it is a place where you can be genuinely you. You are always welcome at the table even if you’ve never been before, or if you’re there every day. It doesn’t matter what you wear to our table or the Lord’s table. Your heart is all that matters. At the Lord’s table you are fed, nourished, loved, forgiven, and cherished. So I hope it will be too at our new kitchen table.
Come. All are invited to the banquet table.
Our new table: