a community of transformation
About the table
At The Table, we feel called to move towards transformation. It is so easy to get caught up in things that do great harm, or otherwise prevent us living abundantly. Greed, fear, an impulse to isolation, a will to violence, are present in various ways in each of us – they determine, to varying degrees, how we use our time and energy, how we choose our words and deeds, and the many good things we hold back from.
But our goal is to move away from these things, to transform ourselves, our families, and our communities towards goodness. By God’s grace, it is possible to move in the direction of greater generosity, peacefulness, neighborliness and faithfulness. We believe this transformation is possible, not only in our personal lives, but our families, our communities, and in the world.
The promise that life-giving transformation can happen comes from Jesus, who embodied the love of God, modeled a life of compassion and justice, and demonstrated the sovereignty of grace in his death and resurrection.
From greed toward generosity
Greed is associated with money, but there are all sorts of things we hoard when we could share. We withhold time and consideration, we shout down others’ voices and perspectives, and we grab more in opportunities and resources than we need.
Greed tells us that our own wants and needs are the only ones that matter. Greed propels us to take more and more, even when we know others are in need.
Generosity begins when we realize that everyone’s needs are of equal value, and that giving money, food and status away is more rewarding than stockpiling them. The impulse to gather excess and to cut in front of others exists in all of us, but so does the capacity to share and serve. Jesus reminds of our place in the greater human family, and insists that we exist to serve the world - the world does not exist to enrich us.
From Violence toward Peacemaking
It’s easier to break things than to make things. Injury takes an instant, while healing takes seasons, or years. When there is a wound, when there is pain, it takes a deep reservoir of trust and goodwill not to respond to harm by doing harm. We use words and actions to cut, to shame, to diminish the people around us.
Jesus provided the ultimate example of responding peacefully to violence, when he suffered on the cross without killing his killers. The peace he embodies is not an acceptance of wrong, or an acquiescence to brutality. Christ’s peace is a conscious choice not to repeat the violence he endured, not to multiply harm in the world. Jesus provided a break in the cycle of violence, which God vindicated on Resurrection Day, promising new life after violence. Across the centuries and to this day, Jesus has been leading people away from violent patterns of destroying people and creation, and toward a peaceful life of care and trust.
From isolation toward neighborliness
It’s hard to live well in relationships. You have to stick it out through conflict when you’d rather walk away. You have to be present and vulnerable with people when it’s easier to withdraw. You have to spend time with folks who make you uncomfortable and learn about people you’re inclined to avoid. It’s always easier to build walls than it is to build community. But community is where the life is.
Neighborliness doesn’t mean everybody is best friends, and it doesn’t mean that wrongs are overlooked. Neighborliness is people choosing to know one another, to value each other’s stories, to recognize one another’s hopes and needs, and to reject the impulse to label and dismiss each other over differences. This is the way of Jesus, and the way to the banquet table in the Kingdom of God.
From Fear toward Faith
When fear is driving the bus, we see people as threats rather than partners. We worry about dangers more than we imagine opportunities. We believe there is not enough money or love or affirmation to around. We hold clenched fists, rather than open hands. And we’re miserable.
When faith is driving the bus, we are able to live fully as the people God created us to be. We are unhindered in sharing compassion and creativity with the world. When we encounter new relationships, work or decisions, we imagine what we have to offer, rather than what we stand to lose. We believe that we have a purpose, a calling, and we trust that we that we will find what we need to fulfill it.
Jesus began calling followers 2000 years ago. The work he called them to was difficult and the situations they had to deal with were scary. But he showed that God’s people need not be undone by fear, even in the face of fearsome things. In faith, we are able to cling to purpose, trust in love, and boldly meet every challenge.