From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows. (Ps. 22:25)
Having three children under four years old has given me the opportunity to spend many nights rocking babies in the wee morning hours. Amidst the exhaustion, snuggles, and cries, I usually fill those 3 a.m. burping sessions watching shows about the restaurant business. Nothing quite matches seeing a team tackle dining room design, community relationships, and a compelling story communicated through food on a plate.
Dennis Prescott—one of my favorite chefs—reminds viewers that the most essential aspect of hospitality is the table. He reflects, “The table is universal. The table is where we connect, where we invest in each other, where we grow closer and realize it’s not our differences, but our similarities that we share.”
Scripture shares Prescott’s love for the table. This passage reminds us of how connected the table is to worship (and to serving). Those who made a vow to the Lord were encouraged to celebrate the fulfillment of that vow with a feast, which could last up to two days. So when the psalmist referred to being “before those who fear God,” and “the great assembly,” he pointed to the richness of a community gathered to celebrate a season of faithfulness.
We often gather our loved ones to celebrate achievements—graduations, retirements, birthdays. Yet, Old Testament tradition offers us yet another rich opportunity for gathering: a meal dedicated to honor the faithfulness of God.
Plan a meal and invite others to come with questions about faithfulness.
Ethan Linder is an editor and the pastor of Hospitality, Collegians, and Young Adults at College Wesleyan Church in Indiana, where he lives with his wife, Sarah, and their three sons.
© 2021 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.