By Roz García
“I know where you live! At the house where there are always people eating at the table!”
They were my first outings as an adolescent, I was about 12 years old. I was excited to hear that the boy I flirted with knew where I lived! But I never imagined hearing him say: “At the house where there are always people eating at the table!” I wanted to die of embarrassment!
Yes, this was our reputation in the neighborhood.
At my parent’s house, there is a round brown table with 6 beige chairs in the kitchen. Above is a ceiling fan with a yellow bulb that cools the air on summer days and shines at night. It is located in front of a window that overlooks the garage of the house. It seems like a shop window, and at any time you can see someone sitting there reading, eating, talking, laughing. That is, and has always been, our place of reunion. I miss that table.
I have so many memories of experiences at that table. It is a welcoming place for anybody, where they would be treated as my “sisters and brothers.” I learned to share this sense of “companionship” with anyone in my life who sits at my table.
At our table there will be provision for my brother and sister…
At this table there has never been a lack of food. My mom is a very good cook. I have never managed to cook like her, but what I did learn very well from her was to never doubt God’s provision. There would always be enough to share even if I thought there was insufficient food. Just as Jesus distributed food while he loved (and there remained plenty of leftovers in the baskets) I too can evidence his miraculous provision daily.
But Jesus said, “You feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” Luke 9:13 NLT
At our table there will be teaching moments for my brothers and sisters…
When I was a student and I returned from school, my sister and I would sit down to eat at that table while my mother asked about our day. It was a time to chat and complete our homework. The hours passed and we were still studying …
Today we continue to learn at the table while we savor our coffee, diverse conversation, and the Word of God. We are free to read, meditate, inquire about, and debate the Bible in order to learn from it on a more personal level.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. Proverbs 9:10 NLT
At our table there will always be communion without discrimination for my sister and brother …
My memories of family gatherings as a child, include bickering over a seat at the “adult” table. Everyone wanted to sit there and it was funny to see additional chairs squeezed in or two people sitting on the same bench so they could be present. It was a time where all people were equal, there was no discrimination there, young, old, women or men. We were simply a “tribe”.
Today I can continue having communion at our table with all those people who want to be a part of our “tribe”, one that respects and values each person, with the understanding that diversity is God’s creation.
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 NLT
At our table we will be servants of my sisters and brothers …
Another memory I have, is seeing my mother making, organizing, and arranging placemats, napkins, glasses, spoons, and everything that might be needed when sitting at the table. Seeing the table all beautiful was like an invitation to sit and enjoy. She continually asked if we needed anything, if we wanted a tortilla, soup, or another taco. I felt important when Mom tended to my needs. Now when visitors come to my house, my goal is to make all those who arrive feel special. To be kind and make them comfortable. Jesus served, and he is my example. What a great blessing it is to be able to serve.
But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, Matthew 20:26 NLT
At our table there will be inclusion for those brothers and sisters who feel lonely and need to be heard…
At that table I shared situations that bothered me or hurt me. I heard my friends talk about their life situations, I was present when they needed to be heard…
They knew they would be heard there, without any judgement. Sometimes I only listened to silence, and other times tothe voice of my father and mother when they disagreed with something, or to the voice of my sister giving me advice. I learned that my voice, and the voice of other people, were important. It was a table that would be inclusive of “my brother or sister” who arrive tired, weary or rejected by their family or community. This was a table that bore my yearning – a desire to help people see the hope we have in knowing Jesus. This was the table where we were able to share what God teaches us about love, life, and our values…
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NLT
At our table there will be love and mercy for my sister and brother…
Love requires decision. In days of pain and hurt we find it hard to love … But at our table we decided to love.
Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Hebrews 13: 1 NLT
How I miss that table! But today I have a table where I can go. Our CLLI table where we gather. A table where we live out sisterhood; and where we find love and mercy among us. It’s an inclusive table where our voice is heard loudly; a service table where we use our gifts. It’s a communion table without discrimination where we learn from one another. And above all it’s a table of bountiful provision,where we can experience what God has been doing in each one of us.
I am proud to sit at our table … It’s a table where there are always people eating . . . . eating the Word of God!
Roz Garcia, is the Coordinator of CLLI Metepec, Mexico and a 2018 graduate of Monterrey Mex.