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Gather Around the Table this Easter

A few years back my husband and I attended a play that was an adaptation of the classical movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which originally starred Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy. It was a beautifully written, and quite comical, story based on the difficulties families faced in the 1960s with inter-racial marriage. The scene that stood out the most to me was when the son was trying to bring both families together for dinner. In the last line of the last act, he turns to his father and says, “Dad, we need you at the table.” With that, the father joined the others, and the audience was left with the understanding that healing had begun.

Life has always centered around the table. It is where families gather for celebrations and children do homework. It is where we pay bills, work on crafts, and have debates. The table represents a physical anchor that holds a family unit together. This is not a fairy tale narrative created to give an inanimate object meaning. The table has always been the center of life. It is significant for a reason, even if we do not fully understand why.

When we study the Old Testament, we begin to see the importance the table played throughout the Bible. In the book of Esther, we find that the Queen of Persia was the only person that could save the Jewish people, her people, from death. Risking her own life, she chose to approach the king and invite him and his prime minister (vizier), Haman, to a feast. It was during this dinner that Esther confronted Haman about his plot to kill the Jews. She could have used the throne to save the Jewish people, but instead, she knew the power of communion and chose a dinner party as the best setting. The Jewish people were saved because Queen Esther gathered around the table.

We know the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. After years passed, with great tribulation, Joseph’s fate turned, and he became prime minister (vizier) of Egypt. Years later during a famine, the brothers traveled to Egypt to seek food from the prime minister. Thinking their brother died long ago, they men did not recognize that it was their very own Joseph that now sat in the seat of judgement as decision maker for the land. After Joseph revealed himself and forgave his brothers, they celebrated with a feast, and gathered around the table.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were thrown in a Philippi jail for causing a disturbance in the Roman city. When the Roman guard, who was ordered to watch over these prisoners, became a believer in Christ, he released the two men at risk of his own life. The first action the three men took was to celebrate with a meal, as they gathered around the table.

The night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He and His disciples partook in the Passover meal. He explained to His followers that the bread they were eating represented His body and the wine represented His blood. These statements were to foreshadow His death that would occur the next day. Jesus spoke these words during the Jewish feast, as He and His disciples gathered around the table.

As we enter the holiest of holidays for the Christian faith, we acknowledge that Easter is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, which occurred on a Sunday three days after Passover. I remember two years ago reading a headline during the pandemic that said: Easter and Passover Cancelled. That struck me as very strange. If I did not have a birthday party, does that mean I did not have a birthday? Easter is an event that happened in our history. It is not a festival.

The thought of “church” being cancelled is also a flawed statement. “Church” cannot be cancelled when you are gathered with others. After Christ’s crucifixion, the early church was nothing more than a few people gathered in worship. There were no buildings or fancy rituals. It was simple, pure worship of God. The word “church” is from the Greek word ecclesia, which means “an assembly or called out ones.” Church never has been, or will ever be, a building or a religion. The apostle Paul wrote, “Greet the church that is in their house.” (Romans 16:5). Brick and mortar, rituals and rules, do not make a church; believers make the church.

As we gather this Easter let us make the time special and fun, but also remember the significance that this holy day brings. Be intentional in your preparations, and remember to celebrate life together, around the table.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou

2 commentaires

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Pari Papadopoulos
Pari Papadopoulos
13 avr. 2020

I enjoyed these biblical illustrations. Thank you for opening my eyes to how much life happens around the table. It’s such a natural thing, very easy to take for granted.

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