by Harmony Harkema
I love tables. When I walk into a store that sells furniture, I am inevitably drawn to the tables. When the Crate & Barrel catalog arrives, it’s the tables I flip to first. I have a dream of a long dinner table made from heavy wood, a bench seat along one side so people can crowd along it and bump elbows. I have another of a roughly hewn table in my backyard, one that has hurricane lanterns with candles flickering and mismatched chairs.
When I’m eyeing tables, though, in my mind they’re not empty, the way they are in the store or a catalog. I’m envisioning them surrounded by people.
Because what I love more than tables themselves is the purpose of a table.
It’s a gathering spot.
A resting place.
A filling station.
Every night, my little family of three eats dinner together at the table in my kitchen. It’s something I’ll never forego, and not just because statistics say it’s the most important thing a family can do together. Even with only three (one who is three years old, granted), it’s a place of laughter and sharing, with all of us talking over one another between bites. Family happens at the table.
A table is so much more than a place where we eat.
Last Saturday morning, two sweet ladies came and sat at my table. We drank coffee and ate muffins still warm from the oven. We mulled over Bible studies, talked about our experiences studying Scripture, and got to know each other a little. I can’t wait to share a table with them again.
The Great Commission of Christ began at the table.
A year ago this past spring, after nearly two years of intermittently searching for a church in our “new” city, we found a place that felt like home. These were people we could sit around a table with, and we did. A few months later, a new friend and I jumped in and started a women’s group that met throughout the fall. Every couple of weeks, these women—and there were many of them—gathered around my friend’s kitchen island, which served as a table, and ate warm quiche and croissants and fresh strawberries. We all began to open up like flowers in the morning sun.
Being around the table will do that to you.
A few months later, we moved to yet another new city, and I had to leave that lovely little community behind. But those mornings around Christy’s table – they stay with me. They can still warm me from the inside out, even a year later.
Jesus knew this. It’s why he sat at the table with his twelve disciples. It’s why, when the time came for him to return to his Father in heaven, he chose to establish his eternal covenant with them at the table, with bread and with wine. It’s why we gather around that same table—in spirit—today.
The best thing about the table of Christ is that there is room for all of us.
And so today, I want to welcome you to another kind of table. This one is also metaphorical, but we’re hoping it contains the spirit of all the real tables we—and you—have gathered around and have yet to gather around. We want it to embody the spirit of Christ.
We’re here to talk. We’re here to share. We’re here to open ourselves like flowers in the morning sun.
The best thing about this table is that, just like the table of Christ, there is room for all of us. For all of you.
So we invite you to join us. We invite you to be part of the conversation. We want you to feel safe here. We want you to feel known.
Because being safe and being known are glorious things.
Welcome, friends, to The Glorious Table.
Harmony Harkema has loved the written word for as long as she can remember. A former English teacher turned editor, she has spent the past seven years in the publishing industry. A novelist and blogger in the fringe hours of her working mom life, Harmony also has a heart for leading and coaching aspiring writers. Harmony lives in Memphis with her car-loving husband and two small daughters. She blogs at harmonyharkema.com.
Photograph used with permission from, and copyright of, Michelle Lenger.