Around the Table

The smell permeated the entire house. Its only competition for grabbing your attention was the laughter and noisy conversation. And then there was a sudden hush after the words “Let us pray” were proclaimed by a booming voice. After a moment of silence, gratitude was expressed for all manner of things with the crescendo being thanksgiving for family and for the food about to be devoured.

Each dish was lovingly prepared. Each represented someone’s favorite or the cuisine that they were “famous” for, and there was no shortage of it. With plates piled high, everyone found a place to sit around the large table. Once seated, the noise increased again as folks chatted with those closest to them.

Similarly to when all were invited to pray, one of the family members spoke up loudly and said, “I have a story to tell you.” Everyone listened intently until she was finished, and then others around the table began to offer their own opinions, perspectives and stories

There is nothing like sharing a meal together. Especially when the company and stories are as delightful, if not more so, than the food. Sharing a common meal and sharing our lives around a table are some of the richest times.

One of the things I miss most about our sons growing up and going off to college are our shared meals and shared stories.

A number of our faith communities in Minnesota are engaging in some form of dinner church. They are inviting their neighbors to join them for a combination of worship and a meal. What I really value about this experience is the invitation to gather with our neighbors to hear their stories and to share our stories, all in the framework of our sacred meal-story.

As quickly as it had become quiet, the noise grew once again as conversation hummed around the table.

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