Room for the table

As a family, we love our dining table. It’s where we eat together, paint and draw, play board games, sit around and drink tea… it’s pretty much where we live together.

It’s the heart of our family community, and of our wider interactions with friends. When we think of our most treasured times in Boston, they often revolve around our massive oak table.

I have so many memories:

  • being able to casually invite 8 people round for lunch after church;
  • playing a huge game of Risk late into the night with ten amateur war lords;
  • times of arts and crafts with our kids, left abandoned on one end of the table whilst lunch was served at the other end, to be gleefully resumed as soon as eating was done.

Here in Latchford, things have changed a bit. An important Bible verse for us has been John 1:14, which talks about when Jesus “incarnated” and came to this world in human form.

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
John 1:14

As we try to follow the lead of Jesus, we are also doing our best to “incarnate”. This incarnational living means moving “into the neighbourhood”, into the same houses that everyone else on our estate lives in. And, on this estate, we all get the same shared space downstairs: a narrow kitchen, and an average sized lounge. There’s not exactly room for an 8 foot dining table.

In fact, with two sofas in the lounge, and a decent sized fridge taking up floorspace, there’s barely room for the 3 foot table we do have. It’s had an impact on our usual hospitable nature: even adding two extra people for dinner becomes impractical, opening the fridge literally involves two people getting out of their chair.

As our pastor Lukas preached this week, when Jesus incarnated, it was an inconvenient thing for Him to do. We are planning on adding more space to our home, but even without that, working with limitations has been insightful. I wonder how many problems this lack of space contributes to…?

Children get expelled frequently in our schools, teenagers drop out, or underachieve. Is the lack of a dining table a lack of a place to do our homework?

Families are inactive, eating unhealthy meals. And poorer families are hurt by this most. If there’s nowhere else to eat, are we more likely to eat unhelpful food in front of the TV?

Modern society is cursed by divorce, seperation and broken families. Would we spend more time talking to each other when it matters, round a table?

I love sitting round the cosy table we have now, and I’m definitely looking forwards to getting a bigger table. But I’m also thankful for the opportunity to share a lifestyle with our neighbours. May we all spend more time at the table together!


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