Happy November, dear friends and sojourners! As we move toward the end of a year that has been fraught with challenges and turmoil, Holly and I wanted to send a few words out to you.
I am Canadian and Holly is American, so we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time. But anytime we hold gratitude in our hearts and minds I think we do well.
When I think about gratitude, one of the images that comes to mind is sitting around a table with friends and family. And as I thought about sharing a meal with others, and how that looks, and what it might mean, my mind went to Jesus. This guy was always eating it seems! At weddings, with friends, outside at impromptu picnics where the only person who thought to bring food was a boy who was willing to share.
Whenever Jesus gathered with people to eat, he knew it meant something to sit at table and share a meal. What it meant to break a piece of bread off the loaf and pass it to the person next to you. When Jesus ate with people, food wasn’t the only thing being served. There were generous helpings of forgiveness, acceptance, and healing, too. Shame was not invited to Jesus's table. All those present were equal and all were loved when He was the host who blessed and broke and gave. Because Jesus knew that when you sit at table and make space for gratitude, hearts can change.
I wonder how I might welcome others to my table with gratitude in these difficult days that seem wound in barbed wire. What would it be like if I could sit at the table with the wounded and difficult parts of myself? What if I could give wine, give bread, give kindness, to these parts of me?
And then, what if I could welcome, with thanks, the other? The one I may need to forgive, the one I disagree with, the one I fear? What if we could sit down to eat together and find Christ in our midst, generously offering us grace and hope, love and thanks, and encouraging us to offer ourselves and each other the same? Perhaps the barbed would begin to untangle.
Gratitude. It is what I am practicing because I still don’t have it right. But I will continue to practice, and I invite you to the table with me.