Returning to the Feast: The Problem with the American Table

Returning to the Feast


“It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table.” AW Tozer


My Carter girl knows her place at our table. She returns to it with enthusiasm. She sits proudly with her chin up and tiny teeth peeking out from behind her smile. That little blonde knows full well she is my daughter. She understands (beyond any shadow of any doubt) that all I have is hers.


Her purple grapes, the messy applesauce and her double portion of milk. That girl receives all of my attention as we sit and eat morning, noon and night. She knows everything that’s mine is ultimately hers.


Our little two-year-old has learned that art of returning. Of lingering. Of enjoying the feast. And she understands the first step: She must simply find her place at the table and believe that everything will be provided her.


But there are those of us who don’t know our place at the table. Or even worse, we are seated in a wooden brown chair unsure of what is ours and how to feast and what steps to take next.


Me included. Sometimes I find my groove in a chair, but don’t know how to take my next bite. Or I find myself munching on morsels when the smell of a feast is tickling my nose.


Returning to the Feast
{Photo credit: Unsplash | Annie Spratt}


Can’t this be true of all of us? Coming to the table of a living God, munching on morsels when He has given us a whole loaf, a broken loaf? His body?


And yet maybe we’ve become complacent about our experience at the table. And I dare say, complacency is the bitter aftertaste of a meal gone wasted.


The Problem with the American Table


We are currently facing a time in our land of big kitchen tables, beautifully designed on the outside, carefully crafted and programmed to high performance, while its feast is being overlooked. We care deeply about the way it looks and fits our home, but do we care as deeply about how we spend our time at this table?


This sacred space of feasting?


As Americans, we return to the table to clean it, to work on it, but rarely do we feast at it. We decorate the table, we sweep underneath it, but do we linger?


Maybe the problem is that we no longer linger. To linger is to last in the arms of a living God.


And since lingering is a lost art, hasn’t it seeped into the Church, into her bones? And because the feast is not a part of our American society, it is bringing about a malnourished church.


Which means malnourished people (with weak bones.)


Malnourished people become dim lights (walking around a dark world.)


A dark world means chaos. And more mess (and more undoing of a foundational grace.)


Returning to the Feast


Now dear friends, by all means we can talk about coming to the table like we talk about a good Baptist potluck. And hear me, I am the biggest advocate of gathering your people to the your table. Feeding them well. Sowing laughter among good bread.  Making sure excellent drink is served with a beautiful tablescape, one that makes us all swoon.


This is the place of real life. Around the table.


Returning to the Feast
{Photo credit: Unsplash | Padurariu Alexandru}


Returning to the Feast
{Photo credit: Unsplash | Pawel Wojciechowski}


But even in the practice of gathering those around our table, there is truth to say we forget to gather around the table ourselves. We can all nod and say we’ve had times that we’ve ceased lingering in Christ, feasting at His table.


“Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”


And so we become lifeless. We become sticks of creatures feeding on dirt and dust when we were made for much more than dust and dirt living. We were made to have a place at the table.

Lingering at the Feast


Somewhere along the line, we became scared of lingering and feasting. We didn’t think we could ask for abundant life. It seemed too rich, decadent, too drastic for us, Christians.


So instead, we sit.


The reality is that many of us have taken our seat at the table. We’ve found our plate with our nametag. We feel uniquely special and invited, but we don’t know what to do next.


We stop. Grow paralyzed. We don’t know how to reach for the food. How to ask. Whether or not the meat and potatoes are for us. Or what course to enjoy first.

But daughter, it is all yours. You have inherited the whole feast.


“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well-refined.”


Only the finest for you, sweet girl. In Christ, you will be fully satisfied.


“He will swallow on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples. The veil that is spread over all nations.”


The food is there for the taking.


But this comes with a practice. A practice if returning to linger at the feast. To take time to sit and ask. In exchanging a shallow diet of dirt and dust to feasting on bread and wine.


This is your Christ. This is your abundance. This is the joy in feasting, discovering God.


My Carter girl sits and she sits and then she returns to sit more. She is unafraid to ask. She understands fully her inheritance as a daughter. She knows she will be given daily bread and that it might just be the sweetest of all the breads. She knows and she feasts.


There is a feast waiting for you. Take your seat at the table and stay awhile. I’ll sit next to you.


The Imperfectly Brave team wants you to know that there really is a place for you at the table. Join us as we feast on the new work God is doing through Imperfectly Brave. We’d love to have you at the weekend, there is a seat reserved for you.

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