ONE THOUSAND GIFTS

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Come to the Table

"There is a table to which we are invited each day. It offers us trees and stones, sunshine and stars, eagles and angels, roots and water, joy and sorrow, earth and fire, flesh and blood, storms and memories, words and silence, spiders and webs, night and day, death and life, crust, crumbs, and loaves." ~ Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 135


Come to the Table - by Michael Card


I have not thought of my striving to live from an attitude of gratitude as also being in communion.  Yet, Macrina's quote encompasses all of life.  The Table of Love is prepared for each of us...for me...each moment.  I am daily invited to come and to eat.


Macrina shares once again the poem entitled Love, by George Herbert. When read slowly, it is a powerful poem. The words that stand out for me:

'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.'
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
'Who made the eyes but I?'
Herbert's poem closes with the words...the challenge...the invitation...


"You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat." 


All to often I am grabbing a bit as I head out the door.  Or I grab a bite while driving some place.  Sometimes I grab a bite while I stand and do other things.


"You must sit down.."


Macrina writes:
"Unfortunately, most of us turn away from this table, not because we sense our unworthiness, but rather because we are so busy, we're oblivious to the invitation...we have to be at least present enough to recognize Love's invitation." (Wierderkehr, p 136)


Macrina writes of a time when she was sitting in the Greek Theater at the University of Arkansas when she remembered Herbert's poem. She began saying the words over and over again when she sensed the divine energy of Love standing before her.  


With everything that was going on, she knew that God only asks her one question, "Will you let Love serve you; will you sit and eat?"


She writes that it was a sacred moment as she sat quietly and let the morning fill her. She prayed "the morning" and silently she "ate up the dawn."
"I was feasting at the table of daily life." (Ibid)
This morning, in my gratitude journal of 1000 Blessings, I wrote how I loved "the moment when the sky was quiet, wrapped in shades of pale pastels that waited the arrival of the magnificent sun." 


I did pause, and I can appreciate that I was feasting at the table of daily life in those minutes.
"Our experiences feed us all we need to be holy, yet it is only in reflecting on these experiences that they can be changed into prayer."
"The Table of Daily Life" is the final chapter within this book, "A Tree Full of Angels."  It is like Macrina saved the best for the last, or perhaps I needed to work through the other insights and thoughts in order to fully appreciate the gift of being invited, daily, to feast at the table of life.


In this last chapter, Macrina shares experiences that have fed her at the table of daily life and how journaling with these experiences has turned them into prayer.  She writes, 
"It wasn't prayer that I was searching for, but rather a prayer that was searching for me. The prayer found me when I accepted Love's invitation to come to the table of life." (Ibid)
In his abundant grace, Jesus offers the invitation to Come...and Feast...to everyone every morning. He offers me the invitation and sadly, there are days I am living under the illusion that I am too busy to pause and sit in order to taste life's moments fully. I allow the noise of all that is around me and within me to deafen the sound of life. Macrina writes,
"We are often content to remain shallow. We fail to plumb the depths of all we can be. Busyness, noise, and shallow living are three great enemies of the spiritual life. Flannery O'Connor suggests that human nature is so faulty it can resist any amount of grace and most of the time it does."
Macrina challenges me to recognize that each morning I stand face to face with the grace of a new day. She invites me to proclaim the truth: I am not too busy to taste the fullness of life today."

Again, in his grace, God gave me freedom of choice so the choice is always mine to accept or to turn away because I choose to spend time in worry or activity.

Years ago I read the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. In the book, Lewis provides a series of lessons for a young demon, Wormword, to help him understand ways to undermine faith. The lessons center on daily living and the choices we make that keep us from feasting on the holy.  Basically, Wormword is taught by Screwtape to let the humans do what they do naturally.  Wormword is shown how to offer to us things that cause anxiety, fear, worry and to then simply stand back as we choose to feast at the table of fear.

There is a familiar saying that claims, "Time is money" but this morning, as I sit with my thoughts and reflections I think time is life and if I want to live life from the place of wholeness in Christ, I want to find the fullest time.  It is to easy for the busyness of life to leave little room for the very Source of Life.

Sadly, God gives me time and all to often I don't have time for God.  How crazy is that!

A woman shared with me this week her hectic schedule and the grieving that has been a part of her already packed calendar:
"The past month of Sundays have been filled with band and cattle showing. This Sunday, the kids will be showing cattle in another state. This past month has also been a month of people dying. A few weeks ago it was a young father in the community, then right after that it was my best friend's nephew then two days later a friend of my daughter's mother was murdered.  My friend _____'s son had a heart attack then just a few days ago a classmate of my daughter killed himself. I just learned that on that same day a friend of mine drowned in a pool. 
"There are too many memorial services.  Its depressing. Every time I turn around, there is another funeral."
Where is the invitation to feast at life's table within such moments as these?

I believe the invitation comes in the pause.  And in that pause, we can give all the pent up energy, the raw emotion to God...because when I hold this kind of life "within", I miss seeing God in the midst of such pain and fatigue. There is simply no room!

It is in these times, when I may even be saying the right words for others, yet my soul is feeling empty that Wormword and Uncle Screwtape are laughing in delight.

"Sandi! Come to the Table, I've prepared for you...!"


Jesus, my Friend, my Teacher, and my Savior! Thank you for the invitation this morning to feast upon the morning sky.  I wasn't consciously aware how those moments were feeding my soul, preparing me as I opened Macrina's book to the last chapter...so that I could appreciate her words from my own experience. By your Spirit, help me to sense your invitation throughout my day.  When "Wormword" tosses me crumbs of worry or fear, help me have the strength from having feasted at your table to resist. I look forward to these last few pages. Open my heart so that I might be fully present to your Word. And Lord, surround my friend as she walks/lives during a time of intense busyness and grief. AMEN.




All of my life...I have a reason to sing!!!


Many Blessings ~ Sandi

2 comments:

  1. The table is set. Waiting, ready, prepared. May I take the time to notice the feast before me and savor each morsel that has been prepared for me.

    ReplyDelete