A Common Table

photo: greedy guts

Live. Dream. Eat.

Can it be this simple? Something so common, so everyday, so normal? Sitting down together, sharing a meal. Listening, talking and eating. The three things we do every day of our lives. What is one step we can take to heal the wounded chasm of separation between us? Eat.

Just do it with someone different. A different skin colour, a different accent, a different upbringing. Share your stories. Listen to different persepctives. Share food. Nourish each other with human connection and stories of humanity. Look into eyes, notice the forehead wrinkle, and feel the hands shake when sharing a story. The words are not what we are sharing. It’s the heart and emotion behind the story, the memory that has lodged itself into our narrative, just waiting to hear a redeemed version.

Shared memories are not from the past. Hearts feel them as if they are happening today, in that moment of recollection. The trauma is there, just below the surface. But now, as you share, imagine there is someone you least expect to be sitting across from you saying, “If I could have been there to help you, I would have.” You can feel it in your bones, that feeling that you are seen, you are felt, you are known.

There is a spark, an energy flying betwen us that winds its way around each seat, tying us together with laughter, sadness, grief and celebration. Stories remove the “other” from the conversation. Meals replace dividing lines with passing plates and clinking glasses. It begins with a deep prompting and ends with sitting across from refugees or laughing with the people you once feared.

This is part of our mission. To bring together the “other” and make a space for each other. To put a name with a story, to remove judgement and replace it with compassion. To refill cups to overflowing with unexpected hope in a lavish, loving God. Because when we look across the table, we each see a different piece of a creative God. There He is, enjoying us enjoying each other as we finally realize that without each other, we can’t fully see God.

Pass the wine, pass the bread. Listen to the stories and listen to what is not being said. Hear what lies between us. Talk and share from a common table. Seek to boldly step into someone else’s shoes and muster the courage to take a few steps. This is not the time for advice, solutions or pointing to mistakes. We don’t seek to understand each other, or our our differences from a distant, sterile, analytical view.

The budding hope is that we see each other as a trusting, safe place. I don’t want to know about you. I want to know you. I want you to know me. That comes from a place of mutual vulnerability, not a place of psychoanalysis.

This is the inbetween, the space that floats above us, just waiting for a seat at the table. The in-between, when trust is just beginning to breathe and walls begin to shake as long held strongholds quake excitedly at the hint of change. This is the in-between that leads to the open field that leads to the building of a new city.

Is it really that simple? Yes, we believe it’s a start. To celebrate. To listen, to speak, to share. What we see and taste is far better than food. We humbly offer our loaves of bread and a few fish, by faith believing that we will experience communion.

“Food doesn’t start when we eat and it doesn’t necessarily mean the end when our plates are empty. It starts right at the beginning of your story with the people you are making it for. ” -read on the back of a menu.




What are you thinking?