Table Hope

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live. The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and so it will go on.   — Joy Harjo

 Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up. – Anne Lamott

 As the Visioning Team met in Laurie’s dining room yesterday morning, I started thinking about how important tables are in our lives. I found myself really enjoying sitting around the table with Laurie, Jackie, Chris, and Roz, sipping coffee, and talking about worship and vision. I also enjoy sitting at our dining room table at home - eating, drawing, and making things with my family.  Sometimes I write my sermons there. We have also been sitting around tables at church for our worship/dialogue conversations. We gather around the table in the church kitchen to eat or fellowship, or pray before worship. We make decisions in council meetings, and have lively Scripture Seekers discussions around the table in the Ross Blue Room. And we gather each month at the communion table in worship to celebrate and remember our covenant with God, Neighbor, and Ourselves.  Tables are places of relationship and sharing, of laughter and tears. Most of all, I think, tables are places of Hope. And we are all craving Hope during this dark time in our nation. 

As Anne Lamott writes, sometimes we have to be stubborn about cultivating hope.  Right now, there are days when the television and social media newsfeeds are filled with one tragedy after another. It is overwhelming, horrifying, and depressing. And yet, we are still all called to give birth to the Light of Christ during Advent - the light that breaks open the darkness around us. I believe it is around the many tables in our lives that hope can begin and grow - even when it feels very dark around us. 

I have been journaling about tables this morning during my early morning (still in the dark) prayer time. I want to share my journaling questions with you - and invite you to pray, journal, or reflect on them with me this morning. 

What tables do you remember sitting around?  What were the tables that formed you? Those tables that drew you to them again and again?  What tables do you miss?  And perhaps just as importantly, what tables are you creating today?  What do they look like?  Who joins you there?  What makes them special? 

I invite you to sit with the hope of tables as Advent unfolds. Most of all, I look forward to gathering with you around tables at UCH, while we wait, watch, and work for the hope during this Advent season - even when it’s dark outside.  – Rev. Jeanne