Room at the Table

Interior of the Mayfair Ballroom

Do you ever wonder if what you do matters?

It’s such a cliche it’s practically too boring to write about. But we do wonder, don’t we? For me, this is especially true when I preach a sermon at the nursing home. Some people are not interested in listening. Some people are not able to listen and understand. Some people are asleep or on the verge of drifting off. (Pro Tip: At least two out of three of those things are also true on Sunday morning.)

As I preached in Madelia one day last week, it felt almost self-indulgent. Was anyone but me really getting anything out of this sermon? Impossible to tell.

As always, I treasured the parts of the worship service that invited more obvious participation from those gathered. We sang the good old songs –“This is My Father’s World”, “The Old Rugged Cross”–and we prayed the Lord’s Prayer together.

And then, we shared the meal of Holy Communion. I carried the wafers and T carried the juice. We moved through the worship space, and one by one, these faithful folks opened their mouths or held out their hands to receive the body and blood of Christ. It was simple and holy and good.

The worship space is also the day room, which is really just one end of the big dining room. So it’s hard to tell where the worshipers end and the early-to-lunchers begin. I worried, as we neared what seemed like the edge of the assembly to me, where to draw the line.

Image from page 1321 of "The Ladies' home journal" (1889)

But I didn’t have to. We served all the folks on the edge and we kept right on going. T led me all around the dining room, offering communion to absolutely anybody who wanted to receive it.  Again, simple and holy and good.

I don’t know if the sermon I preached mattered to anybody that morning. I do know that as I moved through that dining room serving communion, the sacrament preached to me. It said:

The table is so much bigger than we think. When Jesus is the host and the meal, we don’t need to worry about where to draw the line, because all of us are included in the circle of God’s love and grace.

Thanks be to God.

Big table dinner - Suwannnnee River

If your meal preached to you, what would it say?



Filed under Ministry Matters

2 responses to “Room at the Table

  1. Jan Veseth

    This. Made. My. Day.


  2. Susan

    That’s a really interesting question, Maggie. What would my meal preach to me. I’m imagining lots of things: “Be more grateful for me than you really are. Use these calories for good. Remember all the people who made me possible.” While the message might be serious, I’m having a fun time imagining my food actually talking to me at meal times. It’s been a long day…


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