Community done well is all about other people. Inviting other people to do life in all its stages and forms and messiness with us. Community is coming to the table together!
Whether that table is long or short; square, round, or oval; new or old or somewhere in between; community-minded people believe that there is always room at the table for another person – whether they are a trusted friend; a family member; a new friend; or an absolute stranger!
“There is room at the table for everyone” is a sentiment I heard that may have been said by Shauna Niequist during a podcast interview as she was talking about her book. This sentiment still resonates with me today as I am only one day away from completing my 31 Day Writing journey on the topic of community. Here are my personal thoughts on what it means:
In its simplest form, I believe it means what it says:
There is room for everyone at the Table of Life.
I think “There is room at the table for everyone” reminds us to be inclusive and not exclusive. It reminds us that no one is better or worse. More deserving or less deserving. Jesus was found sitting around the table with tax collectors. And that was a big deal back in his day. And, it wasn’t considered a good thing.
“When you offer peace instead of division, when you offer faith instead of fear, when you offer someone a place at your table instead of keeping them out because they’re different or messy or wrong somehow, you represent the heart of Christ.”
– Shauna Niequist
Tables were created for community. Is it even possible to buy a table and one chair? This alone tells us that the entire world believes you need to be sitting at the table with at least one other person. I know, from my experience, that a lot of community happens at all sorts of tables. I know I have cried, and laughed, and solved all the world’s problems at many different tables over my lifetime.
A table beckons us to sit and think and share a while. And in all that, life happens. Problems are solved. Community is built. People feel welcomed and they leave your space feeling better about themselves.
Who can you invite to your “table”? It doesn’t have to be the table in your home – any table will do. However, doing community around your table at home is more inviting than any other place in the world. It says “Welcome to my life – all of my messy life - let’s do community together!”
Invite just one.
Welcome just one.
And watch how God will multiply those around your table!