See Your Neighborhood: The Table of a Neighbor
Dear Kaleid Women:
We’ve been considering how to better see and know our neighborhoods and our city over the last few weeks. We talked about how Jesus’ physical presence with people in His community provide a “way in” for us to learn about knowing and loving our own neighbors. We talked about stories and how powerful it is to be in the middle of the corporate stories that our neighborhoods and churches represent. Today we tie these two ideas together and invite you to remember your table.
Neighboring and tables go together.
Something physical - a shared meal often leads to something unifying - shared stories.
Tables are the most natural human place for neighboring. Remember a simple meal that warmed your heart? Do you remember the finest meal you’ve ever eaten and who you were with at the time? Do you remember laughing with friends around a table at a restaurant until your sides hurt? Do you remember intimate conversation at a table with someone you were just learning to love?
How can you view the literal plates on your figurative plate this weekend as opportunities to know and love those in your community?
Consider the people Jesus ate with as He navigated relationships in His community. Consider that His meals provided opportunity for hard conversations as well as beautiful encounters, but that the table was the backdrop for all of it.:
Sincere but judgmental religious people:
While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to share a meal with him, so Jesus went and took his place at the table. - Luke 11:37
(This dinner ended in some uncomfortable words being thrown in both directions.)
A slew of unjust and immoral folks:
As Jesus sat down to eat in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. - Matthew 9:10
(This dinner ended with people judging Him for the company He kept.)
The family of his best friends:
Lazarus and his sisters hosted a dinner for him. Martha served and Lazarus was among those who joined him at the table. - John 12:2
(This dinner ended with a beautiful aroma and a cranky disciple.)
His chosen day-in-and-day-out people:
When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles joined him. - Luke 22:14
(This dinner involved beautifully intimate conversation and Jesus’ deep care for His disciples in the face of their humanity.)
Tables are messy and beautiful, vulnerable and inviting, complicated and simple. They are the spaces where life slows down enough for real relationship to occur. As Kaleid women who want to know our communities more fully, we invite you to reflect on these questions as you head into the weekend:
What might table-neighboring look like this weekend?
Does it look like letting some neighborhood children do a craft at your table?
Or taking a simple meal to a sick neighbor or a neighbor with a new baby?
Perhaps inviting a neighbor over to play games with your family?
Or maybe it’s going out to dinner with some girlfriends from your neighborhood?
Is it having an authentic, hard conversation with your teenager over breakfast?
Or is it just savoring the moment of listening to a story of a loved one over lunch?
Whatever it is, we invite you to celebrate God’s good gifts of physical satisfaction and emotional connection that tables offer to us.
We love the conversation cards at The Known Project! They are great for getting the stories going around a table!