Not at my table
Twice on my trip to Kentucky, I was invited to dine at the home of one of the most adorable Sunday school teachers. Cloaked inside her petite exterior is one of the biggest hearts I have ever met. A heart that has been equipped with the gift of hospitality which made my own heart do flipper-de-loos each time I crossed the steps into her adorable cottage style home.
Lovingly known as “Miss E” to some, she has a personality that draws near. (On a side note, she is a teacher (not just on Sundays), and I have long been drawn to other lovers of learning.) Her humble home just exudes “Come on in. Sit a spell. And the proverbial Southern favorite, “Y’all eaten yet?”.
On that last one, she didn’t have to ask because we were invited there for that very reason. Well, that and of course, good old-fashioned girl time. One night we even had dinner and a movie – a chick flick with pizza and tissues. All girls will get that combination.
Clearly a proud momma, her decor consisted of artwork done by her very talented children. Rooms filled with a delightful mix of family heirlooms and inviting, cushioning chairs beckoned my soul to slow down and relax. All of it beautiful without being showy.
But there was something present that the eye could not see, but the spirit could certainly feel. This home – this communion of souls – was filled with the grace that only can be found when God’s love is present.
One moment will be forever etched in my memory. For our first dinner it was requested that we bring our own beverages to accompany the meal. Grabbing our favorite drinks – a Coke in a bottle and McD’s sweet tea in the Styrofoam cup – we happily arrived feeling we were allowed to add something to the evening’s experience.
As we gathered at the table, Miss E informed us that we could place our beverages in the goblets already on the table. One among us protested that wasn’t necessary. In a gentle but firm reply, we were informed that at her home we WOULD NOT be using those containers.
As my Mama would say, “We are not common people”. That old saying was fitting here. We were not just guests. No! We were beloved sisters in Christ – blessed with the gift of friendship.
Looking back, I realized that someday that’s how it will be at Jesus’ table. Imagine it! He will want only the best setting for his girls. All the junk (rage, bitterness, fear, worry, doubt) we allow into our lives really doesn’t belong at His table anyway. I don’t think Jesus cares about the quality of the china, but he does cars about the way we approach the table. It is the effort that we give to each other through his grace that matters. If that (like Miss E’s glasses) is how we come together, then the dining will be divinely appointed!
Not so long ago at the table of one sweet lady, I was served with Southern hospitality and dined, grace-filled, like royalty.
Comforted to know I really am, and thankful to have been reminded.