Stories of Hope – December 7

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We’re gonna sit at the welcome table!
We’re gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days! Hallelujah!
We’re gonna sit at the welcome table!
Gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days.

 All kinds of people around that table one of these days! Hallelujah!
All kinds of people round that table! Gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days.

African-American Spiritual

Kitchen tables are important.  Think of your kitchen table and all that happens there.  You not only eat at that table, building community and love, but you also hash out arguments.  You do homework or business work or, if you’re like my family, household work: crunching numbers in the checkbook, folding laundry, organizing files.

In the days that were not too long ago, the kitchen table was also where you laid out a body in a “wake” before a funeral.  My grandfather told me stories of their kitchen table that doubled as this family casket.  Poetically, that kitchen table was probably also what he was born on.

Kitchen tables continue to hold deep meaning for those who use them.  And so this wonderful image that we get from this Spiritual today blends all of these meanings, and more, to say definitively that this table being sung about indicates one deep thing: family belonging.

In Advent, as we wait for Jesus, we also wait (eagerly!) for the day when humanity will recognize that we all have a common brother in Christ, which means we are all siblings deserving a seat at the table.

  1. Who can you invite over this Advent to share a meal at your table? Don’t stop with just naming them, invite them!
  2. How can you work with an organization this Advent to extend the human table for those who often feel left out?  Name that organization, and make a commitment to aid them in these weeks.

 

All italicized quotes, poems, and prayers come from An Advent Sourcebook (Liturgy Training Publications/Chicago, IL, 1986).

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