The theme of the 2022 United Methodist Church Annual Conference of North Georgia is “A Place For You At The Table”. As an at-large delegate from my district, I will be gathering with other brothers and sisters in Christ in early June in Athens, Georgia to report on the fruitful work of God’s people, celebrate the faithfulness of our great God, and hear the cry of the needy from various local churches and entities sharing the gospel of Jesus.
Serving in ministry with children and families I find great delight and wonder at tables, especially the kid’s table. Remembering back to great family celebrations, the best time was always at the kid’s table because…
The common denominator on every plate was typically bread and dessert.
Jesus broke the bread and gave some to each of his friends and said, “Eat this and remember me.”
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24
The best stories are about family, especially those about our parents, aunts and uncles when they were young, playful, and fearless.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.” Psalm 107:2
Everybody laughs. The same table where we eat is where we play games or make stuff. It’s where we do stuff with our hands and we laugh our heads off.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?” James 2:14
It’s more about the company than the decorations. In pre-Pinterest world the kid’s table rarely got elaborate decorations making room for as many little chairs as possible.
“Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you.” 2 Corinthians 7:2-3
This annual conference my colleagues in ministry with children will be providing a pop-up kid’s table in the common area. Nothing formal. Nothing fancy. We’ll just randomly pop-up in places where see family and hear laughter. This is what we’ll have:
Legos – legos are tools for building with friction.
Otrio – a quick game of jacked-up tic-tac-toe puts everyone on the same playing field.
Goldfish – a snack will keep the hangries away.
Those of us serving children’s ministry rarely get seats at tables where the big decisions are made. Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “Angels and men, so far as we know, are the only creatures who have been guilty of this refusal to keep their appointed places.” Yet in the Wesley tradition, there is a divine partnership between laity and clergy where we live out this tension with integrity and order all to the glory of God and I can’t think of a better place to do that than with a sacred assembly at the table. Especially the kid’s table with a quick game of Otrio and a snack. Come, pull up a chair!
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.” Joel 2:15