Meals together can produce some of our worst moments … and some of our greatest memories. Family tensions often arise at a meal-table, especially as we get older and our differences become greater. Conversations turn to politics, faith, and lifestyle choices, and it doesn’t always go well.
Meal-tables sometimes accentuate competition. We subtly compete over who cooked the best dish, or who has the best story, or who has the greatest achievements.
But the meal-table can also be a place of remarkable grace, hope, and healing. As we listen to each other, pray with each other, and honor each other above ourselves, the meal-table becomes a particularly powerful setting.
In 2 Samuel 9, we read a beautiful story of a king, a cripple, and a table.
King David decides to honor his dear friend Jonathan (the son of Saul) who has died. He asks, “Is there not someone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?” David’s servant tells him that there is someone, one remaining family member, who is cripple in both feet. His name is Mephibosheth. And the king summons him.
Normally, a new king would eliminate or exile the family members of a former king. But in this instance, David resolves to “show the kindness of God” and that part of the story concludes with these touching words: “So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table as one of the king’s sons” (2 Samuel 9:11).
Another king reached out to all of humanity, crippled as we were (and are), to “show the kindness of God.” And on the night that He was betrayed, He took the bread and the cup and invited us to come perpetually to His table (the Lord’s Table) as His guests.
An eternal king, a world of cripples, and a table of perpetual grace.
We set this week apart for Thanksgiving here in the U.S. Will our tables be acrimonious or harmonious? Will they reflect gluttony or grace? Heartache or hope? Hostility or holiness? Fighting or faith?
The table becomes almost as central to Christianity as the cross (see also Revelation 3:20 and 19:5-9). May we “show the kindness of God” to each other and experience at our tables His generosity, His goodness, and His grace.