To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Monday, July 20, 2009

The words, as recognizable as once upon a time, begin the greatest story ever known by mankind.
"In the beginning, God..."
A story of romance, intrigue, death and redemption. A history narrative, a biography of the One not completely invitation to sit at his table, to eat, to drink, to know and be known.
We've begun a new tradition in our home. Late on Saturday afternoon we have a Sabbath meal. Not as a way to close out the previous week, but rather a time to set the tone for the upcoming week. Not like Christmas or Easter dinner fare but a meal markedly different than the other six nights a week.
The simple and complicated answer...a little of heaven here on earth. A glimpse, slightly fuzzy and out of focus of The Table that we anticipate and wait for. "The point is to celebrate before the Lord around the table, knowing that He is preparing a table for all of us to sit down where He will be seated at the head."

On the seventh day God rested. We all know that but I think sometimes it has been reduced down to just a ceasing of work. We rest on the Sabbath so we don't make our beds or go to the grocery store. I think there is more. Much more. At the end of the sixth day God looked around and declared that all he had made was very good. I don't think he just refrained from creating anything else on that seventh day, I think he enjoyed...found pleasure in and celebrated with all that he had created. It was more than a cease and desist kind of thing. And we want our day of rest to be about more than that as well. So we gather our family on Saturday night and rest and rejoice in his abundant provision. We see that all he made and has given to us and declare his goodness. And we use it as a time to point them toward a Supper that is unequaled by anything here on earth.
We've no idea what this will look like a year from now. We're in the infant stages and leaving room for it to grow and bloom into a fragrant offering. The menu, as I said before, isn't the huge meal prepared on family holidays but I'm reasonably sure hot dogs won't ever be on the menu. The first week we had a roasting chicken, homemade mashed potatoes and green beans. We also had fresh cucumbers and cheese and lots of hot buttered bread. This week it was sirloin grillers, baked sweet potatoes and broccoli and cauliflower and avocado salad. Nothing fancy but a step above the daily meals we have.
The biggest thing that sets this meal aside at this point is the table setting. Typically the kids drink from their regular plastic cups at dinner while Rob and I drink bottle water. But for this meal everyone uses glasses. And we normally use cloth napkins but this meal combines with a special table cloth. Much thought and preparation goes into our table setting, candles and flowers. So far both tables have been beautiful and festive.
Some interesting observations have already sprung from these two meals. The children get excited as the preparation begins and they are eager to be a part of it. What a picture of how we should be eager to come to his table, willing to do all that is asked of us in preparation for that Feast that is coming!
The first night Claire wanted to add in her little plastic fork...was actually bent upon getting her own way in this matter. Needless to say it stuck out like a discordant note in the middle of a beautiful piece of music. The lesson here? Insisting on our own way, on adding our mark without thought to the overall picture detracts from the truth and beauty of the table. Obviously I am speaking of spiritual matters and not merely in a material sense.
We've already decided that this meal is important so the general rule will be no activities planned during this time. Unfortunately, with Sarah there will be a time every five or six weeks where she cannot be with us. Our meal this week was still beautiful and festive but something was missing with her absence. When the family gathers together, no matter how sweet the fellowship, when one is missing for whatever reason it is noticeable at the table. Does anything else really need to be said here? There is a reason we are told not to forsake coming together as the Family.
We're pretty excited about this new thing in our life. A new way to give expression to our faith. And we're looking forward to having family and friends join us in the celebration.
Any thoughts? Questions? Suggestions?


UriandMelinda said...

Feast on, Marty!

Paula said...

This is such a beautiful tradition. I think everyone should, in some special way, celebrate the coming week to honor our Lord. What a great way your family has chosen to do this. God bless you all.

Brian and Jessica said...

This has inspired me to think about doing something similiar in our home. Thanks for sharing your thoughts (and photos) on this matter.

Love you!

Donna said...

It is beautiful Marty. All of it.

Anonymous said...

That’s great. Don’t let the world encroach on this exquisite moment in your relationship with your Lord. Let it grow into a time when you entertain strangers as per the picture in Matthew 25:34-36.


Our Family said...

This is wonderful! We had started - and will again continue once we are settled. Your pictures are beautiful.
We have a book called "The Family Meal Table" by Nancy Campbell.
Thanks for sharing!