Michael Smith ~ The Table

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Leonardo_da_Vinci_(1452-1519)_-_The_Last_Supper_(1495-1498)

In this famous and classical piece of art each disciple has a different gesture and pose. It is thought that Leonardo DaVinci wanted to capture how each disciple would react after the statement Jesus made about the betrayer being in their midst. How would you respond?

Each of the disciples had unique abilities and personalities. As they gathered around the table that night, like most nights, they brought who they were to the table. They would have common jokes, shared stories, and maybe even favorite places to sit. So being truly unique yet called to serve together, we see moments throughout the gospels where they get it both right and wrong. At times they coordinate and accomplish great things with Christ, and at other times they are left incapable of handling situations or even becoming indignant with one another. This is life and this is what it means to be the church. We are disciples together and like them we get it wrong, but hopefully we get it right most of the time. Our varied responses to some of life’s questions or statements leave us looking like this scene.

The Table

This piece of art reminds me to reflect on what it is like for us to gather around the table. This month we gather around a table of Thanksgiving. It is a time to give praise and thanks to God for even the subtlest and simplest of life’s blessings. For some, gathering around this table is difficult.

Did your family have a kid’s table? Mine did. This was actually a fun experience, but as you age, you wonder when you might be given a chance to sit at the real table. Though we can joke about memories such as this, in reality there are people in our world who are wanting and waiting for their chance to gather around the table. This Thanksgiving let’s remember to invite all to the feast and to the table of grace. My hope is that after celebrating All Saints Day, it would encourage those who gather around the Thanksgiving table to remember that they are not alone in their celebration. It is tough though. There are loved ones departed this year that were with us last year. The broken bread exchanged at the table is not the only broken thing at it. Relationships may be strained and forgiveness and grace may need to be shared.

A Family Meal

With all of the uniqueness that we bring as individuals we are still part of a family. This family is not defined by last name though. It is not even defined with how much or how little is on the table. We are the family of God, and when we gather around the table this Thanksgiving, I want to encourage us to remember one another. Pray for one another and thank God for them.

Pray for one another and seek reconciliation and healing for broken relationships. Pray for one another and remember those who have no bread to break on that day or throughout the year. Be thankful for one another, for it is in your uniqueness combined with mine that we are able to be part of the same family. The One who gathers us around a common table desires for us to receive something so much more than just turkey and stuffing this Thanksgiving.

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Michael Smith is an Elder in the Greater New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is honored to serve as the Senior Pastor of Clinton UMC in Clinton, NJ. He loves his family and is passionate about making new disciples.

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