A Table For Such A Time As This (by The Rev Vinod Victor)

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

Psalm 23:5

The elderly gentleman who walked to me during coffee after service said, “The greatest lesson I learnt during the Pandemic was the futility of enmity and hostility. I have had a very tense relationship with my neighbour for quite some time and the long period of lockdowns made us gaze at each other from our balconies more often than ever before. We shared a cold gaze and often failed even to share a smile.

“And the inevitable happened one day. I tested positive. The people in my home were quarantined and I was moved to a hospital. More than the breathlessness I suffered there, I was worried of the well-being of my dear ones at home.
“The Lord was gracious. I was healed. When I returned home my family told me, ‘We are thankful for the gift of neighbours. Literally, their dining table came to us each mealtime. It was not just sharing food with a family in crisis, but it was sharing love.’
“Next time I was in my balcony the gaze had a warmth and there was indeed a smile. We even waved at each other.
“A few days later we decided to share a meal and we invited them over. It was intended to be an expression of thanksgiving but turned out to be a pouring-out of love.
“Yes, a table was set by the Lord before me, in the presence of my ‘enemy’ but by that time my enemy had already become my ‘friend’.”

Table fellowship is not meant for the enemy to behold as an onlooker from far away but to be a participant in the joy of sharing a meal together. This would mean transforming the relationship which had gone bitter for one reason or another. This would be an expression of the continuing miracles of the Lord and the work of the Holy Spirit.

We talked together as to how the Pandemic had affected people across the world and how several people are thrown into poverty and hunger. And we talked about how gracious the Lord was in providing for us.

But the word ‘enemy’ began to achieve deeper meanings in the conversation. The original Hebrew participle that is often translated as enemy could also mean those who live in scantiness, those who live a cramped life, those who live in dire straits. That was a new revelation.

So if the Lord blesses me with a table in front of those in need, that is surely to invite them to participate and share in my table.  It is a call to be responsible and a call for justice. It was challenging my understanding of self sufficiency and made me ponder much deeper into food security and the climate crisis that impacts hunger in different parts of the world.

The conversation ended when the next person who wanted to greet came in and asked, “Am I intruding?”

The Pandemic challenges us to look at the Table that the Lord sets before us as a Table of great possibilities. If the Eucharist could be the fulcrum of our faith, the table could be the pulpit of our silent preaching. It is about inviting and welcoming. It is also about sharing and reaching out.

We live in a world that cannot afford to live in enmity for we are neighbours and need the care of each other for now and for the future. Hospitality can be the greatest channel of the gospel in a world that is still learning again  to trust each other’s company.

Miracles continue to happen and one of the greatest miracles is the possibility of transformation of relationships. The Cross is the proof that there is no enmity that cannot be transformed into LOVE.

Our tables are set by the Lord at such a time as this for a deeper purpose. Not that others would behold but that others would participate.

The ACF Midweek Meditations
are written by a diverse group of our church members with the intention to seek God’s fingerprints in our lives. They range from somber to humorous and are inspired by all facets of live and faith. Written by ordinary people from all walks of life, they reflect a wide range of Christian backgrounds and spiritualities.

Each week’s text portrays the individual viewpoint of its author. They might not always resonate with everyone, and are not meant to be understood as representing the Anglican Church Freiburg as a whole. Yet, as a church that is aiming to ‘Build a Community of Grace’ we seek to practice learning from and listening to one another.

We pray that these humble ponderings add a small spark of blessing to your week.

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