Thanksgiving and Tables

Today is my last day as Staff for National Capital Presbytery.

I’ll confess, it’s a bit surreal. There is so much I will miss about this ministry and those I minister with.  It has been a good four years.  My grief is tempered with the knowledge that I work in a connectional system, and trust that we will all meet again (and I’m not referring to the next General Assembly!).

My grief is tempered, but not alleviated entirely, because I also know things will never be the same.  What will I miss most about my work here?

The lunch table.

I didn’t make it to staff lunch every day – there were other tables and other meetings that called me away – but when I was there it was food for the soul.  We caught up on each other’s lives and debated minutia.  No topic was off-topic.  Sometimes things got heated, other times photos of weddings and grandbabies were shared.  We argued policy, we laughed deeply, we enacted again and again the promise of the Kin-dom through the breaking of bread.

We shared so much more than lunch.

No doubt there will be times when someone with whom I’m sharing lunch with will order salmon on a Wednesday (it’s a long story) or will do a deep-dive into a conversation about theology and politics… and I’ll have to explain my smile. I’m comforted by the hope of those other tables, including The Table – where we gather around with that great cloud of witnesses from every time and place… where we enact again and again the promise of the Kin-dom through the breaking of bread.

Years ago my family visited Santorini, Greece.  I worked hard at learning a bit of modern Greek but struggled with pronouncing “thank you”.  It was only the last day of our visit, when I was writing a card to thank the woman who changed the linens that I wrote the word in Greek and remembered that the word Eucharist means thanksgiving.  (Honestly, I felt both relief at being able to now pronounce the word and silly at the apparent waste of an education on me!)

This intertwining of thanksgiving and tables has never felt more real than it does today.  I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity I’ve had these four years to share lunch and life with these incredible people.

Grief, gratitude and tables of all sorts…. and love abides.

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