Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Can Happen at a Table Before the Lord



Tonight I cooked dinner for a pastor visiting America from Cuba. He sat at my table and ate my cooking and was excited about having corn. It had come straight from the freezer at Publix, and all I did was warm it and add butter, but he was so excited to eat corn out of season, while Mike translated his Spanish and our English.

We ate dinner while Pastor Karel admitted his fear of speaking freely of his government, even here. It was no small thing to admit his trepidation when Mike took him to the capitol building in Columbia. It took some coercing to get him to ascend the statehouse steps, and he flat refused to go inside. He cannot imagine smiling faces at the door to welcome him in. Fear and intimidation is all this man knows from his government, and one moment on the steps of freedom isn't enough to undo a lifetime of suppression and control.

It never occurred to me to be fearful at the statehouse or excited about the corn.

Later, I washed dishes and cataloged the nations that have eaten in my kitchen at my table.
  • Pastor Karel, Cuba;
  • Pastor Cristian, Guatemala;
  • Pastor Garang, South Sudan.
I have fed the nations at my dinner table. The one with three white plastic folding chairs because Mike has broken the pretty ones from his continuous use. The table that has doubled as his desk for years. The one with cloudy, dull spots in the finish where the trapped glue fumes from Reagan's art project ate through the stain. The one where we've coaxed a cancer patient into a few bites of chicken noodle soup after chemo, his head hanging down.

This table where my family eats nightly.
Where the kids gobble their favorites, and complain about mushrooms.
Where we circle held hands and bowed heads over simple and extravagant meals with bountiful hearts.
Where global poverty has met American wealth.
Where communism has met democracy, black has met white, and persecution acceptance.
Where bondage has met liberty. Where fear has met love.
Where Christ unites, and there's really no translation necessary for that.

There was a wooden altar . . .
its corners, its base and its sides were of wood. . . .
"This is the table that is before the Lord."
~ Ezekiel 41:22


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