After our 9am worship where we spoke about the importance of the table in hospitality, Ann R (one of our church members) was reminded of a book that she had read on this topic that was very meaningful to her. She has sent me this review with the encouragement for all of us to read this book and think and pray deeply on the significance of the table, any table, where our love and the love of God can be poignantly expressed.
“It is through the daily practice of the table that we live a life worth living. Through the table we know who we are, where we come from, what we value and believe. At the table we learn what it means to be family and how to live in responsible, loving relationships. Through the table we live our neighbourliness and citizenship, express our allegiance to particular places and communities, and claim our sense of home and belonging. At the table we celebrate beauty and express solidarity with those who are broken and hungry. …. At the table we initiate, welcome, celebrate, mourn, farewell, scheme, covenant, form alliances and hope for reconciliation. At the table we tell out stories and listen to the stories of others, embracing difference, celebrating heritage and welcoming the stranger. At the table we express faith, confess our failings, remember our obligations and reach out for grace and community…..Life without the table is no life at all.” (Simon Carey Holt p150).
Sitting down at a table to eat is an activity so grounded in the ordinary, so basic to the daily routines of life, we rarely ponder it beyond the simple inquiry, ‘What’s for dinner?’ However, scratch a little deeper and you discover in eating one of the most meaning-laden activities of our lives, one so immersed in human longing and relationship it is a practice of sacred dimensions.
In this age of culinary infatuations, global food crises, celebrity chefs and Biggest Losers, the need to reflect more seriously upon eating is pressing.
A trained chef, teacher, social researcher, minister of religion and homemaker, Simon Carey Holt draws on experience and research to explore the role of eating in our search for meaning and community. To do so, he invites us to sit at the tables of daily life – from kitchen tables to backyard barbecues, from cafe tables to the beautifully set tables of our city’s finest restaurants – and consider how our life at these tables interacts with our deepest values and commitments. (Acorn Press)
Simon Carey Holt, Eating Heaven: Spirituality at the Table, (Brunswick East: Acorn Press, 2013.) Available at Christian book sellers. $25 Available on Amazon Kindle $10