As much of a social butterfly as I consider myself to be, one social situation sends my heart racing – and not from excitement. I turn into a bundle of nerves when I have to find a seat at a table, especially in a public place. What if there’s not a seat for me? What if I sit in someone else’s place? I’ve come to discover that those fears reflect some fears I didn’t realize I had about the Kingdom of God. I’ve learned though, sitting around tables across the world, that there is always room at His table. Hopefully you’ll find some encouragement in these stories shared around my table.
HallelujahPraise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Psalm 146:1-2
It’s nearly 8:00 pm in a village in Swaziland, and I’m marching through a tall field of grass with four other girls. Being in the middle of nowhere changes the way the stars look. We’re not lost and we’re not crazy. We’ve been invited to a local church dinner.
From the field, we can see the faint light of the church in the distance. We hear the voices inside singing and immediately realize we’re in for a long night. When we finally arrive, we join them in worship. We’re dancing and singing, but only one word.
Over and over again, we sing the word hallelujah. For six minutes, this goes on—our dancing and our one-word song. We could have kept it up for the entire night, and it would have gone down in my book as one of my favorite church services of all time.
Something about singing the word hallelujah again and again before sitting down around the table together made us feel like we had stepped back in time to the early church. Worshipping arm in arm and passing plates of food between us seemed to go hand in hand with one another. Our precious Swazi brothers and sisters had sacrificed to give us a feast unimaginable and invited us in with genuine joy and love. I realized that this is what the heart of Christ looks like.
He invites us to His table full of love and joy and asks us to partake with Him and enjoy the blessings He places before us. Around that table, things get spilled and messes get made, but even still it remains a table and a feast that can be defined by one word: hallelujah.
We’ve done nothing to deserve our place at His table, just like we had done nothing to deserve a place at the church dinner in Swaziland. Even so, we have been invited to enjoy a feast at the sacrifice of another, and for that, a six-minute song of hallelujahs seems not nearly enough.