Tables Set. Gatherings Planned. People Coming. That is something that gives me all the feels. Some tables can be surrounded with strangers or the dearest of friends but one thing is always true; when you get up from that table you are always closer. It might only be a tiny new thing that you learned but I can guarantee when tables are a part of the equation then there is change that occurs.
This is my first Easter that I am hosting for my sweet family. With an expectant heart I planned all the tiny details. Feeling the weight of importance that this is when memories are made and conversations happen that get you closer than when you first arrived. My family always dives deeper around tables. My husband, Livingston jokes that our family could stay at a table so long, so deep in conversation that we could just go into the next meal. We do not do surface conversation very well and that is totally okay with me.
As I have been doing the She Reads Truth “Because He Lives: An Easter Study” devotional (run do not walk, if you have not heard of this company), I loved the way they shared the scripture verses of John 13:1-35. If you have a chance before your Easter service this weekend I would highly encourage you to take time to read it. To lay some context it is before the Passover Festival and Jesus knows that he is going to die.
“Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” – John 13:1
Now let me stop there, Jesus knew his hour had come to depart and it is a priority for him to sit down and share a meal with his closest friends. In a world where we are on the go and distracted by all that is thrown at us, how often for a meal do we sit in front of the television and not say a word? Now, I am asking this because my husband and I are regular offenders of this. We are exhausted from what the day brings and sometimes that is what we need, to rest and relax, but I know our family has fallen before into a rhythm of this and we go into autopilot and just sit right down without any questions asked. We have tried to become conscious of it now but for awhile we missed a lot of meals to dig deeper into our relationship and figure out ways to love more. We had forgotten the importance of what a table can be and who we can invite to it.
Jumping to verse 4, “So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. Next he poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.” I did a bit more research on this verse and was blown away by some history that I found out. It was very common to have a host offer the guests invited to the meal the opportunity to have their feet washed. However, it was usually the low-ranking servants of the home that were responsible for this task. What is so interesting is that none of the disciples offered this action. Jesus was the first one to take action and do this.
Now I have to admit I have had my feet washed and washed others feet before. The first time was in high school and I had my feet washed as I took on a leadership position at the church. The second time was when I had the opportunity to wash the feet of a 13 year old Ethiopian girl who was just healed from obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula most commonly occurs during prolonged obstructed labor. It can also happen during rape and this was the reason why that 13 year old girl was there.
I share these details with you because both times were tremendously humbling. There is something about receiving that act and it feeling so undeserved. However sweet friends, doing that for someone else was not only humbling but emotional and such an intimate moment to serve someone so physically. I was moved to tears. Being able to do this small service and show my love for her after she had been so violently abused was something I will never truly be able to put into words.
And I am blown away that Jesus did this and knew what he knew. He washed the feet of his closest friends knowing one would betray him and another would deny knowing him three times. I felt humbled by doing it from someone that in my mind deserved it. Jesus did it for everyone around His table even those that betrayed him and denied him. Thank the Lord he did because those betrayers and deniers are us but putting it into the 20th century world how often do we leave people out in this manner? He knew we all deserved it no matter where we came from and more importantly where we were going.
Let’s bring it back to the table. My favorite scene because who does not love a huge dinner party? Jesus sets the stage for what community should look like. What our figurative and literal table should look like. And more importantly how we should treat that table around us. Again, I am not saying to wash people’s feet when they come to your house. This simple, humble act is the direct correlation to “love in action”. It is showing an act of hospitably and a way of expressing gratitude and offering service to one another. That is how we should treat the people around us. That is how we should serve our table day in and day out. Now more importantly, are we doing that? And if not, how can we start?
Because my biggest prayer for you today and through this Easter weekend is that when your time has come to depart this world, your table will say that “you loved your own who were in the world and you loved them until the end.”
The Details of Grace’s Table:
Placemats: Crate & Barrel
China: Everything But The House
Flowers: Trader Joe’s
Table: Ballard Designs
Chairs: One King’s Lane