A few years ago, a nationwide poll asked, “What word or phrase would you most like to hear uttered to you, sincerely?” The top answers (especially number 3) might surprise you:
- I love you.
- You are forgiven.
- Supper is ready.
Sometimes grace looks a whole lot like supper. At someone else’s table. But before we can sit down, we must first be acknowledged, known, and invited. Not overlooked.
My eldest son, who has intellectual disabilities, has spent a lifetime overlooked by certain people who refuse to see beyond the exterior to the fun, wise, giving, and kind person he is. I wish you could see his ear-to-ear smile when anyone invites him to have a meal with them, whether in their home or at a restaurant.
And so my mama’s heart feels deeply when I read in the Bible about Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. Lame in both feet, Mephibosheth spent much of his life in the shadows. Although the grandson of King Saul, this young man was not turning down invitations to parties.
But as God continued to work in the heart of the current king—David— he suddenly remembered a long-ago promise. “David asked, ‘Is there anyone from Saul’s family still alive that I could show faithful love for Jonathan’s sake?’” (2 Samuel 9:1)
Needless to say, an unexpected summons to the king frightened young Mephibosheth. But David surprised him with unexpected news, “Don’t be afraid . . . because I will certainly show you faithful love for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the fields of your grandfather Saul, and you will eat at my table always” (v. 7).
Mephibosheth was shocked and could hardly believe that he was being treated like one of the king’s sons. Even as he grew older, he was part of the royal household. “Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table. He was crippled in both feet” (v. 13).
Is this a reminder that you perhaps need to follow through on a long ago promise to someone?
How about beginning with an invitation to share table time—a simple homemade soup or even meeting at a local coffee shop?
Grace is said at tables because grace happens when we gather around a table. The meal is such a common biblical image that it beckons us to think of our table literally as a table of redemption, where healing occurs for the downcast, where joy is shared in Christ, and where the gospel is modeled to the unbeliever. Meals put people at ease and lower anxieties. The path to being heard by those who do not know Christ sometimes begins over an authentic dinner conversation. (Barry H. Corey)
“Lord, thank you that your love for us is never wasted. Keep us rooted in your word, eating at your table, and praying by your Spirit, so that we may remember when we fail that we are part of your family not because we deserve to be but because you want us. Amen.” (Common Prayer)
Who is waiting to hear you say, “Supper is ready!”?
under the mercy, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
©2017 Lucinda McDowell adapted from Ordinary Graces (Abingdon Press)