A Pastoral Word
I have shared with the congregation already that I enjoy cooking, trying out new recipes and gathering at the table. It is just one of the ways that I show my love for those who I deeply care about in my life.
I started the Dinners for 8 in hopes that I would get to know everyone better and to learn more about Midway Christian Church. And that has happened as I expected it would. I have learned stories about where I am living now, shared laughter with a group that has grown up in Midway together, and learned more about the history of the church. But I am also grateful for the unexpected blessings that have come from these experiences.
But I realized that I was not the only one experiencing the unexpected blessings from these occasions of fellowship. People have shared with me that they also got to know other church members better. They see each other on Sundays but now they feel that they are really connected as members of the church.
I was reflecting on these unexpected blessings this morning as I wrote this newsletter article. I was thinking of the groups that have sat around our dining room table since arriving in Midway: the crew who helped us to move into the parsonage, the Keenagers, the first group of Dinners for 8 and the groups of people who sat around that table before it came to Midway. The table was my Grandma Woodruff’s and it stayed in her kitchen where we had all of our family meals. I remember Christmas dinners and Easter lunches at this table. I remember the pieces of chocolate cake that always seemed to find their way to my plate at this table. So many wonderful meals!
When my grandmother passed away, I asked my parents if I could have the table, thinking, at that time, Mike and I would be married in a few months and needed a dining room table, not really knowing the special gift that was being shared with me as I began my life with Mike.
It just wasn’t a table to hold plates of food or a place to sit and eat. I was given the gift of fellowship and love. I was given the gift of hospitality, a gift that keeps giving each time we sit down to eat, a gift that shows God’s grace every time we gather around it.
Mike always tells me I worry too much about the details when hosting a dinner party. Is the house clean enough? What dishes will I serve? What plates will I use? What tablecloth works best for the occasion? He reminds me that once people sit around the table to eat, things come together regardless of my worrying. People enjoy themselves regardless of if I have my fall tablecloth on the table or if I am just serving PB & J sandwiches!
When we gather around the table whether to eat dinner or share communion, we let our defenses down and who we are really are shines through. We are filled with the warmth and peace of God’s hospitality and nourished by each other’s company.
I am looking forward to the remaining Dinners for 8 and learning more about everyone but I am really looking forward to experiencing God’s grace with each one of you as we gather around the table.