“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5 NIV)
There is a group called PeaceMeals in Melbourne, Australia that brings together totalstrangers, many of whom are recent immigrants, for a shared meal at a common table.
They believe that once we’ve shared a meal together, we’re not strangers anymore. This is a form of peacemaking, because getting to know someone outside our people groups breaks down stereotypes.
Table fellowship is an invitation to resolve conflict and bring reconciliation, peace, and joy. My husband and I “had words” over a stressful car situation. Two of our cars are down with parts on indefinite backorder and our third vehicle is an old, abysmal truck but at least it works. Over dinner, we talked through timelines, scenarios, and money. We’re working through our conflict.
Psalm 23:5 invites us to imagine that the God of the universe has invited you to a glitteringdinner party. Sumptuous food is served family style for all to share. Then you notice who God has invited to the meal. Those relatives, friends and others, near and far, who you’ve been estranged from, disparaged or can’t tolerate.
Most commentators suggest that Psalm 23:5 is a banquet of vindication. But perhaps God is inviting us to a banquet of reconciliation. Jesus modeled this for us at his Last Supper, when he washed Judas’ feet. When we are reconciled with someone who we have considered an enemy, we receive an anointing of God’s oil of gladness. There’s no reason to wait for that heavenly banquet, because the oil of gladness awaits us here on earth.
Questions to Ponder:
Is there someone with whom God is inviting you to reconcile and make peace?
What do you need from God to make this happen?
Prayer of Response:
Gracious God, help me to be a peacemaker through table fellowship, just like Jesus Christ. Amen.
—Submitted by Libby Rutherford
Libby is a longtime member of Lifesprings. She’s married to Jay, mom to John and Sarah, grandmother to Malcolm, and has two cats and 17 chickens. She pastors two rural churches and lives in Apple River, IL.