There's a Seat at the Table [Guest Blogger: Stephanie Newcomb]

In our fast-paced world, it is clear that we NEED time like this. I feel a sense of renewal as we open our home, feast together and share deeply from our hearts, asking the Lord to grow us deeper and wider in Him. (1).png

Gather, bless, eat, share, and serve. This has been happening throughout time in countless homes as families and friends share meals together. The concept is not new. People have been gathering together to share meals for centuries. So in September when I attended a homeschool conference with the Wild and Free community I was pleasantly surprised to hear Sally Clarkson, a veteran homeschooler as it turns out, share about her experience and enthusiasm around the concept of “nurturing faith through feasting, one meal at a time” as her subtitle indicates in her new book, The Life-Giving Table.

I snagged her book as soon as I could get to her table! In the pages of this book that I have been pouring over I have found such encouragement for my soul. Gather. Bless. Eat. Share. Serve. These five elements are the backbone of a good meal. And any good meal is required to feel fully satisfied. The idea that we gather to feed our bodies is closely connected to the idea that we must also feed our souls…and why not do them at the same time? Why not weave them together?

Sally told countless stories, both with her own family and with folks she would invite into her home, of how feasting and faith are so closely connected:

Perhaps that is how we need to come to the table to eat. When we “break bread,” we are symbolically breaking open all the creative glory of God expressed in His creation. We are not just consumers of food when we come to a lifegiving table; we are guests of the One who has feasted us with food and drink that please our God-created senses and makes us want to cry out with the psalmist, “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

As I listened to Sally and as I read her words now, I can’t help but think of our church and our desire to connect at the small group level. I think of our home group. For the last few years our home group has experienced a wonderful time of fellowship and connectedness. The group has grown and flourished, as has my heart as I have rubbed shoulders with the amazing people the Lord has placed in our lives. We look back and see how much “feasting” has been the tool to giving us all a greater love and understanding of one another. At 5:30 every other Wednesday night, our group gathers to break bread for an hour-and-a-half. It is then followed by a time of prayer, scripture, and sharing which has been a rich time as well. But I have seen the friendship and fellowship flourish during that hour-and-a-half of eating together. The time has been carved out and set aside for just being together.

In our fast-paced world, it is clear that we NEED time like this. I feel a sense of renewal as we open our home, feast together and share deeply from our hearts, asking the Lord to grow us deeper and wider in Him.

If you are interested in reading through Sally’s book with me and a few others, we will be starting after the new year. “If there is life to be found at the table today, it is life that must be intentionally rescued and reclaimed from its cultural exile.” (Sally Clarkson in The Life-Giving Table)