Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

December 15, 2013


Eating at a table together strengthens relationships


          Some say the wheel is the greatest of all inventions. That may be true but I believe the invention of the table ranks in the top ten. A table where two or more people can sit and eat is surely a marvelous thing.

          My love of tables began in my childhood. My earliest and most cherished memories have to do with eating at a table with my siblings and my parents. Daddy built what we called “the breakfast table” with his own hands and it is one of my most prized possessions.

          There was a place for each of us at the table. We sat at the same place at every meal. And we never began eating until Daddy had prayed the only prayer I ever heard him pray: “Bless, O Lord, this food to our use and ourselves to thy service. Amen.”

          We were taught the habit of washing our hands before meals. And you dared not sit down at Daddy’s table with a cap on your head. Daddy did not waste words about the cap. He would simply slap it off your head. The sting of that abrupt removal would help you remember not to wear your cap to the table again.

          Lest you judge Daddy too harshly let me tell you that my siblings and I came to be thankful for Daddy’s stern ways. He taught us to respect the rules of the house. He gave us a sense of reverence for the table, for family mealtimes and for the food we shared. Looking back, I realize now that for Daddy there was something sacred about sitting at the table and sharing a meal as a family.

          The table has a prominent place in the Bible. The Psalmist David spoke tenderly of how the Lord had prepared a table before him “in the presence of his enemies.” Jesus sat at tables with sinners to demonstrate his acceptance of them.

          Then there is the table in the upper room where Jesus sat and ate “the last supper” with his disciples the night before his crucifixion. Ever since that time his followers have gathered around a table, a communion table, to share the Eucharist or the holy meal.

          During this holy season the table in our home is beautifully decorated with candles and Christmas colors. In fact, my wife set up four tables this week so that we could entertain her beloved Sunday school class for lunch. The food was great but greater still was the fellowship we enjoyed with about 25 dear Christian friends.

          We talked and ate, had coffee and cake, and sang Christmas carols with Dot Nichols playing the piano. Dot is only 90 but she can still play and we love to hear her play. I don’t remember what we talked about but what matters is that we talked and listened and cared about one another. We enjoyed being alive and being together.

          Life is the fast lane is exciting for the young but for those of us in the golden years there are few things more satisfying than gathering around a table to share a meal with friends. Surely friendships are strengthened – and family relationships as well – when we put our feet under a table and take the time to enjoy good food and good conversation.

          The table – what a great invention! + + +