Our table has been all but battered-up bruised with the questions and thoughts we’ve carried to it over the past several months. I carry my casserole and my big questions and pull up a chair. Some nights our table held our collective sighs. Sometimes it held me raging and hurting. A lot of times it held friends and board games and laugher… and then always the stifling pause when we’d stumble on the current news. This world. This world at my table.
Our God, never-changing.
This morning, while it was still dark out, I wandered to that table and piled up books and prayers. I ate my leftover lunch for breakfast. I drank two cups of coffee and wrote and read – these are some of my favorite things. I walked to the ocean because I needed to stand on the edge of something bigger than me, something bigger than this country.
The waves rolled in just the same. God is still and always the exact same. I caught a spray of the green blue water on my face. I let the drop of ocean dry and the salt bake into my skin. Salt. The world needs our saltiness now.
I proceeded to walk to the local coffee shop and get an iced coffee. I am practicing extreme kindness to myself today. I am tender and so are many of the people I love. But I’m sitting in my chair and despite my excellent choices for self care I feel a little restless. I thought,
“I need radical kindness shown to me.”
And then I hear the Holy Spirit,
“Sister, girl, you and everyone else. Get up!”
So right there I made a list of a few acts of random kindness that I am going to practice today and this week. These acts are not complicated but they are extravagant because the receiver is not expecting them.
I am taking the words of Anne Lamott to heart, “We get to start our new 24 hours every time we remember.” So after I spiral a bit I remember Jesus. Practicing communion in my own little way with my own raw sip of coffee. I remember that anything I am wanting to hungrily pull from Heaven down to earth can start with me. Hope, love, patience, kindness.
So I “Get up!” and I march to the counter to purchase some gift cards. The guy at the cash register says, “You should buy these tomorrow. We will have great designs for our gift cards tomorrow!”
To which I whisper, “Oh, no. We need these gift cards today.” The world needs kindness today. We do not get to tap out because Jesus never, never tapped out on us. We get to feel everything we are feeling and then walk in the hope that we carry.
We can buy a few $5 coffee gift cards and hand them out.
We can not only hand a meal to someone who does not have a home but then throw out a blanket and eat the meal with them.
We can text a friend and tell them a very specific reason why they are bringing joy to our life.
We can show up on the doorstep of a neighbor with a casserole and our heart. And serve both.
Are you hurting? Are you swollen sad? Are you confused? You can take communion right now too. We are just remembering Jesus and what He did for us. We do not need to complicate it. Here is the love of Jesus that has never left us and His way is peace. His love is for all people. And, look! Here is your new 24 hours. Choose kindness. Choose to love beyond yourself.
Maybe you are thinking, like I often do, “Oh, but this world. It’s so broken. It’s so complicated…where do I start?” I needed to answer this for myself with something very simple. Something I know I will do. I am going to start at the most pure and simple place I know where to start, right where Jesus could be found much of his time on earth.
At the table.
Do we remember Peter? Right after Jesus’ crucifixion. A denier of his Savior. With great brokenness he takes up his old life, back on the boat. A fisherman again. But after a night of tireless attempts and an empty net Jesus interrupts Peter futile efforts, “Come and eat breakfast with me.” (John 21:12)
Come and eat with me.
A confused world watched Jesus and were baffled at his approach, “This man eats with sinners and tax collectors.”
Jesus ate with the marginalized, the overlooked, the spat on, the broken, the marred.
He ate with them.
If we can bring the people of the world to our tables we can usher in Jesus’ Kingdom. The Kingdom for all the people. If we can gather people who don’t look like us, people we don’t agree with or understand, people who are broken, people who are wandering. If we can start with them right at our tables, loving them – accepting their love, then we can do the next thing – to step outside our doors and carry His love to everyone we meet. We are still the Church. We are still called to love our neighbor.
The whole Law can still be fulfilled by this, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
In such a time as this we actually get to live out this command in a way that God can use in a most powerful way. We who love our enemies. We who are used by God to bind the broken hearted. We who love our neighbor as ourselves. We who are hard pressed on every side but not crushed.
A lot of people are hurting today. We know of a Kingdom coming but for many, they are witnessing what might seem like a kindgom come undone.
Through our extravagant love we can rise and give the world a chance to marvel and ask, “Tell me, what is this hope you have inside you?”
It doesn’t have to be complicated. We can take our queue from Jesus, “Come and eat.”
So today, I am tender but I am showing up. People will look at us and know we belong to Jesus because of our love for one another. (John 13:35).
We can start small. A random act of kindness. A meal at our table. An invitation to come and eat. Tell me, what are your three acts of kindness you will practice this week? Let’s keep each other accountable. Let’s share ideas. Let’s love so extravagantly we’ll light up the world.
*Looking for some posts that bring great comfort and clarity – these have been my favorite from amazing, wise (much wiser than me) women:
The Best News about Election Day from Shannan Martin
In Which I Dare Not To Tell You How to Feel This Morning by Emily Freeman
About the Election and How to Live Right Now by Ann Voskamp
And if you’re looking for a mouthwatering meal to bring to your table – maybe the easiest and best pot roast recipe inspired by my mamma? I know I’ll be making this one and calling the neighbors.