This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt today is “table.”
Every Sunday, around 4.30, they begin to gather. The meal doesn’t begin until 5.00, but some of them value the company too much to wait.
One lady sits and does her knitting, one is keen to help set the tables; a man arrives looking for a chat with anyone who will listen. As more people come in, the buzz of conversation increases in volume. Many are regulars and getting to know one another – a mixture of members of the church and people from the local community – gathering together to simply share a meal.
Some come because money is tight, some come because the thought of a night off from having to cook for themselves appeals to them. Many come because they are lonely, seeking community and connection.
I love that I can be part of a church that provides that – even for one night a week – a place where everyone is welcome, where the lonely can find community and the hungry can be fed, where people can come as they are, where we can meet others who live nearby and realise that despite the fact that we might have different ideas about God, we’re really not so different after all.
We’re all hungry for the things that matter – for love and acceptance, for a place to belong – and ultimately for God. We all come to the table on the same footing, in need of mercy and grace.
They may not all realise it at first, but, as friendships form, they see something different, something they want – light in dark places, peace amidst life’s challenges – a glimmer of hope. Conversations venture deeper, and prayers are prayed.
Our church is still at the beginning of this journey, but already I’m excited by what I see, and I can’t wait to hear the stories in the weeks and months to come.
It’s a simple idea, but God is in it – a table where all are welcome.