Friday, April 12, 2013

Get Back to the Table

I've spent this Easter season reading the accounts of the Risen Christ in each of the Gospels. What stands out to me the most is how unrecognizable Jesus was after he rose from the grave. That makes sense to me-after I lived the paschal mystery in my own life, I didn't recognize Jesus. Everything felt foreign after Caleb died, including the old ways I used to recognize God. That was scary at first because it felt like I was losing my faith at times. But as the Gospel stories show us, just because you cannot recognize Jesus doesn't mean He isn't there-standing with you, walking with you, healing you.

Any griever will tell you that the anticipation of a date is usually harder than the actual date itself. I have felt that this week leading up to Caleb's birthday, which is next Tuesday. My soul is uneasy, anxious, sad, scared, and deflated. It feels so dark in my heart, like I am back there again walking through the dark valley of the shadow of death.  And while I walk through this valley, I don't recognize God, but I know He is near...

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I love this psalm but the part that always bothered me was the table part. Isn't it odd that God prepares a table? I mean, just get through the freaking valley! We don't have time to stop and eat in this scary place! It always confused me, until a few weeks ago when I heard an incredible sermon. It came from Bethel Church, which is a non-denominational Church in Redding, California. This Church has been so healing for me. Their sermons each week are on my podcast and each Sunday night Nathan and I  sit down with a glass of wine and tune in. In the last month or so it has felt like these sermons where written for me, my own heart only. 

A few weeks ago was this sermon entitled the Dual Power of Purpose.  Wow! Please listen to it, its not that long. He talks about "getting back to the table" when you are walking in the dark valley and surrounded by enemies. This makes sense to me. In my grief, when things are so dark and scary, I try (or scramble) to get back to the Table. Because even though right now I don't recognize Jesus in this valley, I do recognize his Table. The peace I have had this week has come when I envision myself running in the dark, panicked, and trying to get back to the table.... I just have to get back to the table. It's at the Table that I feel God again, that my enemies of death watch as the Lord anoints me with healing oil. The Table is safe and so if I can just find the table I will be safe.

Of course as Catholics you can take this even further as Id guess its a reference to the Eucharistic Table, where again Christ is recognized, fully present in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:30-31). Thank you Jesus, for preparing a table for us in the midst of suffering. My prayer this week continues to be that small voice in my soul, though overcome with grief, that is whispering-just get back to the table.

This song might be the most beautiful song Ive heard in a while...I just keep listening to it..God is close to the broken hearted..

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