table: a place has been reserved for you

table - a place has been reserved for you - thanksgiving dinner @poetryjoy.com

As families gather for Thanksgiving celebrations across the pond, they come invited to the table, with no standing on ceremony. Because there is always a place at the table for loved ones, family and friends. It goes without saying.

Yet as they meet and greet, eat and feast, sometimes a ghost sits at the table with them, unable to join in the meal. A silent ghost who should be present with them but is no longer with them. It might be someone currently absent from home. It could be someone who was once a part of this loving gathering but is now missing or deceased.

As I thought about lost loved ones and those who might not be as close to their family as they want to be, making it impossible for them to join them at the table for Thanksgiving or any other meal, I remembered a time to come when a banquet feast will be held. And all are invited. You too, my friend.

Because Jesus died to secure a place at the table for us. A place to sit and eat and feast and experience a joy beyond any we have yet known or can experience. A table lovingly set with the finest of things.

A warm welcome awaits. You are expected. You and I can gain access to this banquet, this feast beyond all feasts. All we need to do  to enjoy the best Thanks-giving feast ever is to say yes to the Host’s gracious invitation of sacrificial, unconditional love for us.

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” — Song of Solomon 2:4

Banquet

I didn’t stand outside like a pauper
or beg for a seat at the table, for I
was given full rights as a daughter
who felt so unworthy but grateful.

I had received a personal, gilt-edged
invitation, written by the host himself,
with a truly irresistible offer,
sealed with his own precious blood.

I hesitated, found it hard to believe
I had any right to be there, but my host
was at pains to remind me of grace and
point out his cross-marred palm scars.

Though I may have hovered, uncertain
and shy, I was drawn by his smile, his
welcoming joy, and the undeniable
warmth and love in his eyes.

His eyes shone like stars as he spoke
my name, framing me within their orbit,
embraced me hard, led me to my seat,
gently ushered me to sit and feast.

As I sat down it seemed as if the table
spread itself infinitely, with no clear
beginning or end and no boundaries,
his previous foes together as friends.

One by one, before very long, large crowds
of people had come, and I was joined by
an exuberant and wonder-filled throng, who
joyfully laughed, held hands, sang praise songs.
© joylenton

Come let us worship and praise God now with gratitude in our hearts for all that He is and all He has done!

table - Jesus died to secure a place at the table for us quote (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

Being sustained at the table

advent-89554_640

Advent is a season to deliberately look for and lean toward the light of God’s presence.

We hunger for hope, run hard after His wild mercy and grace.

Long for freedom from our pain, guilt and shame.

Seek sustenance for our dry, thirsty souls.

Scripture gives us promises that the weak and weary will be refuelled and restored at God’s table of grace.

So we come because invitation has been given to feast with Him here and in greater abundance in heaven.

Won’t you join me at the table? I’ve saved a seat for you. There’s always room for more.

Come taste the wine of His presence and eat the Bread which gives sustenance and life to us.

“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction. He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food” ~ Job 36:15-16

This table..

Here lies hospitality beyond

all knowing, an open table

stretching to infinity

which still keeps growing

A warm welcome here for all

who live in Love’s thrall and spend

their lives devoted to the Friend

who laid down His life for them

Yet here in the very midst

of mess, trouble and strife

we find this table groaning

heavy, brimful with Life

In the presence of our enemies

this table speaks of bounty

deep, laden with grace for the

able, wounded and weak

And even as we eat and drink

to sustain our weary souls,

we will always rise replete,

satiated, filled and whole

This table sits within dark

wilderness, shining bright

with Light’s heavenly splendour

inviting us to taste largesse

©JoyLenton2015

hospitality table FMF PJ

“You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” ~ Psalm 23:5-6

I’m joining fellow thankful table-dwellers over at Kate Motaung’s site today as we feast on the word ‘table’ , chew it over in five minutes flat and pour out our soul offerings. The poem above is my contribution to the rich fare being served there. Come join us?