This is a harvest table my mom found in a barn. It’s the table my non-handy husband refinished for me thirty years ago. An act of love.
Tables can be sacred places. Stained or scarred, messy with spilled milk and Cheerios, or set with china and crystal. We come together to be nourished. To offer bread and casseroles and words of comfort and encouragement. We are present to each other. We learn from embracing our stories with God together.
Inviting people to our table is an act of grace and hospitality, not performance.
Here are a few things I’ve been learning…
1. Show up not perfect, authentic. Yes, you want people to feel like you care enough to prepare for them, and make them feel special, but hold plans lightly. It’s ok if you have a tiny home and mismatched furniture. It’s ok to call an audible and move inside when it’s too hot. It’s ok if something burns. Everyone can relate. Inviting people into your messy life will assure them that it’s safe to take off their mask and be who they are.
2. It’s not about you. Ask good questions! Be interested and enter into the story of others. Set the bar high for your conversation. “Small minds talk about people. Average minds talk about things. Great minds talk about ideas.”
3. Put people to work. Guests (especially introverts) feel more comfortable if they have a task to do. Having someone pour water or dress a salad will help you out, and probably put them more at ease.
4. Invite all kinds of people to your table. People from different cultures. People with differing points of view. People from different generations.
5. Stop to pray before people arrive. Pray that each person who enters your home would feel loved and valued. Pray that the conversation around your table would be honoring to God, and that together all might be nourished by His presence.
Here’s an idea. Gather together as a family and talk about some people you’d like to invite to dinner who you don’t know well. Ask your kids who they’d like to have. Brainstorm some questions you’d like to ask to get to know them better. Have your kids help prepare.
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Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers,
for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
By Laura Crosby
Wife to John, Mom of 2
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member, Pastor, and Blogger