Join the #sharethetable Revolution

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As I recently shared about enjoying the process, let me share one of my goals for Redeeming the Table.  One I'm eager for you to join in and see it spread to be a people who are actively enjoying the process of the table.  

Here is what Redeeming the Table is about: 

Table is blessing, food is nourishing, stories validate, hospitality is transforming, all of these are found in community. Let's redeem our tables together. Pull up a chair & sup with me.

Life is in need of slowing down a couple times in each day.  Our family, our friends, and our self deserve this simple gift.  Eating, sharing life at the table is the culmination of enjoying the process  to life's fullest.  When I pull out the supplies for dinner at the bewitching hour, knowing the interruptions can come pouring out at any moment, I am choosing to become mindful of the 20 second moments of silent.  

I eat these moments up with peeling, chopping, dicing to think over my day.  I pray for individuals who come to mind.  I pray for my family.  I often just talk with God.  It doesn't last long, because the litany of the ordinary tasks don't always explode with gooey sweetness.  But, nothing in life is ever quite so picturesque is it?

What we do get is to take that meal to the table to share it.  Sometimes it's all we can muster to sit through that meal with auditory senses on overload and a lack of manners.  Other times, we feel like we are sitting in the throne room of grace and we whisper to ourselves, "Yes, this is what I was created for."  

I want to encourage myself, and you, to begin a worldwide table of people who share the table through stories, food, & hospitality with friend and stranger.  I want us to be a people who transform this world with the love of sharing the table.  

Would you join me?  

It's quite simple.  No blog post required.  We're going to do this via Instagram, by taking pictures of our tables, our moments that represent our table.  We will use the hashtag #sharethetable  It's really that simple. 

But, here's the thing.  It's not meant to be perfect.  Sometimes it looks beautiful, like it fell out of a magazine shoot beautiful.  Other times, it's just an assembling of random leftovers, with other items cluttering the table.  It's simply to show ourselves how we are to share the table together.

It's an act of taking joy in the process.  It is the litany of the table.  

Let's take joy together.  There will be more to come in the venture; but, for now, let's begin a #sharethetable revolution transforming one table at a time.   

 

If you are new here, you can read more on the series 25 Days to Share the Table.  

Moon Mission Birthday Party which is Unpinable

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Ever since July, V has been planning her seventh birthday party.  Yes, that means six months.  She became fascinated with the moon in those summer months and it only grew exponentially.  So naturally, I began looking at Pinterest for ideas, while keeping in mind the Martha Stewart Kids Magazine I still owned with an astronaut theme birthday party.  

Now, friends, let's remember one thing about resources like Martha Stewart and Pinterest...most of it is unattainable without a stealthy budget, or you have a "knack" for these things.  And by "knack," I mean you are of the 1% (okay, maybe more like 1.7%).  

The finely manicured space suits, with each child's name precisely cut out of red & blue duct take, while fitting like a glove.  What does this really translate into?  

Go to the hardware store in search of painter's grubs only to find the smallest size available is L/XL for kids who are all 5-7 years old.  Let's see what this looks like in stylized magazine world, shall we? 

Okay, I know you cannot really see this picture (click on it and you can see it a bit better).  However, you can clearly see how non bulky it is overall.  Oh and those cute little American flags on their front and the belt looking so pristine.  Immaculate right?  

How do I do a birthday party?  

  1. Do not have the space suits ready for them with their name on back (because I'm only going to take them out of the package if the kid really wants them.  Otherwise if they say no, then I'm taking them back to the hardware store to get my money back).  
  2. Gather as much of the painter outfit as possible in the back, then do a fold down while binding it all with duct tape.  Picture the 90s shirt tuck in gone way bad.
  3. Next, roll up sleeves and pants, hoping no one holds you liable for tripping.
  4. Rather than going the tedious route of hand writing then cutting with an Xacto knife their name to place them with tweezers and magnify glasses on the back of the costume.  Write their name in your best chicken scratch on their misaligned duck tape belt.
  5. When your daughter asks for a moon mission party, you transform the basement into the moon.  You clearly do this by putting up a tarp, then using black garbage bags on the wall and dark blue plastic table cloths (because they were all out of black ones at the dollar store).
  6. You had high plans of putting mattresses on the floor and then covering them with blankets to create a "no gravity" zone.  However, time got the best of you and you put one bed mat and hope by bunching up loads of blankets that somehow creates a "no gravity" zone (by the way--it doesn't).
  7. Your daughter wants to decorate cookies for her birthday with an astronaut, star, and planet.  You quickly tell her how cool it would be to make donuts with the new donut maker from Christmas, and it's like Saturn's ring!  Plus, you save money by not buying any other supplies.
  8. When one of the games is toss the bean bag to the different planets, you quickly improvise.  Why? a. you don't own any bean bags.  b. there's not a lot of space to put planets all about to toss said bean bags to.  Daddy gathers various beany baby/stuffed animals nicely placed in a puppy pillowcase.  You then quickly cut out circles asking the girls to color them to represent the planets.  Ask Ben to place them along the wall above the steps going downstairs (every other step).  Then, gather the kids one at a time telling them the goal is to land their animal to the step with the planet.  Score!!!
  9. Every kid decorates their own donut with raspberry frosting and sprinkles.  And they need a moon smoothie from all that anti-gravity jumping; but, really it's just a chance to show off your new Vitamix.
  10. Ensure each friend brought their own stuffy, because going to the moon without a pet is plain ole inappropriate.  
  11. Open presents, give out favors and say thank you to everyone who came (and help Corban up the stairs realizing he wasn't goofing off to climb up, but the duct tape belt was slipping and the bigness of the painter's outfit was showing---the belt was around his knees).

Above picture is of the game via Martha Stewart.  But I think ours was MORE awesome.  

Birthdays are magical.  My Veronica Storey turned seven, which feels so much more big than little.  She has a lot to be proud of in these short seven years.  I have seen her grow exponentially, gaining more control and learning how to be brave and courageous.  

When she dreamed of going on a moon mission and inviting her friends along, I wanted her to experience it.  There are few times in life when we get to dream of something and have them come to fruition.  I believe a birthday party (with some limits) should be this time, especially when you live in a world that is more complicated than it is for others.  

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As I kneeled down, helping the children into these makeshift astronaut costumes, wrapping around red or grey duct tape and seeing how "unprofessional" it looked, I found self-doubt coming up.  It wasn't staged or "fancy" by definition.  In fact, if you were to "pin" one of the below pictures, I'm sure no one would repin it.  But, as I allow myself to enjoy the world through V's eyes and the other kids, it's magical.  They don't care.

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V came down as I was finishing up the moon basement and let out "OH MY MAMA!  IT'S THE MOON!!!!"

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When the kids left, they raved about the experience.  Jumping in a gravity filled zone with the lights out and flashing glow sticks. Even Caprice squealed being able to delight with the big kids.  One friend wouldn't get out of her costume while doing errands with her mom.  

Can I share this a source of encouragement to you?

It doesn't have to be photogenic to be wonderful and lively and beautiful.  Messy is good. Unkept is real.  Unpinable is a better story.  

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How the Hellenistic World & Present Day View the Table

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Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

These words were spoken in a time when the Jewish people were heavily influenced by the Hellenistic culture, which based a lot of importance on hierarchy and stratification within society.  The way the table was set up in that day revolved around the most important to the least important.  Those who could give to those who could not.   

Ben Witherington III in Making a Meal of It mentions how food categories encoded social events through degrees of hierarchy:  

  1. Inclusion
  2. Exclusion
  3. Boundaries
  4. Transactions across boundaries  

               

So what is Jesus saying? 

He rejects the idea of using meals to reinforce reciprocity cycles and suggests meals be more gracious and less self-serving.  Imagine how counter-culture he was in challenging the very idea of what is considered to be 'table fare.'  

I myself was challenged with this concept; because, what would Jesus say to me, to us?  How in our cultural context do we as Christians replicate the cultural norms of hospitality and bread breaking?  

How do we speak into a culture, not tear it down, but be kingdom driven instead?  How do we mirror after the King's Lovefeast?  How do we take what is good while leaving out that which is ostracizing?  

I believe we live in a day and age, where sustainability is good and valued.  How if you can talk the foodie talk, know that lingo, then clearly you are on the "A" list.  We can watch food competitions and see how food has clearly become something of an other thing.  Good food is more about elitism than together.  We are more worried about impressing our dinner guests with perfection than allowing vulnerability to let loose there. 

Jesus is more concerned that walls and boundaries are being set up.  He speaks time and again against human societal constraints, which inhibit someone seeking the Kingdom of God.  In fact, it's what enrages him at the temple.  

What if instead, we always set our table as those the Lord himself were coming?  What if that's what sharing the table looked like?  And then, when we say, "But Lord, when did I feed you?"  He responds, "When you fed that child who hasn't known nourishment in food and heart."  "When you took some of you grocery money to give it to that family who needed to eat."   "When you invited your neighbor over for dinner."

We live in such a time as this, where food is more than plentiful and people are literally & figuratively starving.  Why would we neglect in sharing our tables?  Why do I neglect in sharing my table?   

I leave you with this, 

May the blessing of God rest upon you,  
May his peace abide with you, 
May his presence illuminate your heart
Now and forevermore. 

--Sufi blessing (seventh century) 

 

Don't miss out on the 31 Days to Share the Table series by subscribing to RTT.  Join the RTT Facebook community.  Follow along on Instagram, and share your own pictures by using the hashtag #sharethetable