Live around the banquet table

This is an editorial column written by Dusty Takle that previously appeared in the print edition of The GRIP.

The church I attend and serve has focused the entire year around the banquet table. Our initial scripture that inspired the theme was from Luke 14:23, So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.

This is the story of Jesus inviting and welcoming all people, no matter where they are from, to commune with him at the table.

You find more on the table in Song of Solomon 2:4, Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.

As we have unpacked “the table” and all that it is, it has come to mean everything to me. The table is where we are nourished and healed. It’s where we share our lives with the people we love. It’s where we invite those we may not know to sit at the table with us and, perhaps, feed them something that nourishes their soul.

A few months ago, our city hosted its first dinner on the 6th Street Bridge. Tables lined the bridge of our small hometown. They were filled with people, with food, with music and with a mutual desire to just be together and enjoy a moment of pause.

Everywhere I turn the table keeps presenting itself, and the more I discover its meaning, the more I realize that it is what life is truly all about.

My dad’s best friend Mike – and really a dear friend to so many – is suffering from bone cancer. My parents are his caretakers, allowing my kids and me to watch his journey firsthand. It’s also allowed us to be present with him and soak in all his goodness.

His attitude is amazing. His ability to be in the moment with you and soak in YOUR goodness is astounding, and his presence makes you aware of how important the table truly is. With our town recently losing a beautiful soul and friend, Julie McClean Smith, and with the ever-present reminder with Mike that life is but a vapor, I penned this in my journal.

“I don’t have time to be angry with you. I don’t have time to be offended by you. I don’t have time to judge the way you live your life. I don’t have time to explain myself or listen to you explain your own whys. I don’t have time to walk in unforgiveness. I don’t have time to get stressed over interruptions. I don’t have time to let insignificant things become significant. I don’t have time to let fear determine my decisions. I don’t have time to carry a grudge, hold you responsible, or form an opinion about you that isn’t founded on mercy.

I only have time to be patient with you. To overlook any wrongs or mistakes. I only have time to enjoy you. I only have time to let interruptions become my pause in life. I only have time treasure everything that’s good and raise high everything that’s right. I only have time to trust in the One who says I work every single thing for your good. I only have time to let faith determine my decisions. To be saturated with peace. I only have time to forgive, to let go of anything that doesn’t strengthen me, to sit in the mercy seat at table with you. I only have time to soak in the moments. To be thankful for relationships. I only have time to pause. To laugh with you. To cry with you. To celebrate with you. I only have time to love and be loved. I have time for nothing else. I only have time for the table. To sit at it, enjoy it, and become it. Because, at its very center is love.” DT – Tuesday, July 25, 2017

There are so many things we think we have time for. We can fill our time with things that deplete us and rob from us, or we can fill it with the things that really matter. The things that nourish us and give us life. WE determine what that time looks like. We get to decide how we spend it. For me, I’m spending it at the table.

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