Each home is very different and some are simple and some are extravagant; but one thing remains, they all have a kitchen table. Some tables are simple, some are extravagant. Have you ever thought of the kitchen table to be considered a “Sacred Place?” Most people don’t refer to the kitchen table as a “sacred place”, but when we re-think it a bit we may begin to reconsider this idea.
Sacred by definition, is an adjective which means; connected with God or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration. Also it means, regarded with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group or individual. The Bible in Proverbs 9:2 quotes this verse; “She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine, she has also set her table.” Prov.9:2 (Standard Version).
So what’s with the table? Most families really don’t sit down and eat together too much anymore. Ask yourself; when was the last time you actually set the table and ate together without cell phones, being rushed or having to be somewhere? Do we actually see the importance and value in sitting down together as a family. Do we truly understand “The Table” or the “Sacred Place”? The table has become secondary to drive -thru’s, fast food restaurants and microwave meals in which none require us to sit at a table. We find ourselves and our children eating on the go or alone. We are forfeiting table time as a place where we build relationships, and to impact the most important people in our lives.
The “Table” or the “Sacred Place”, if you will, is a truth that has existed literally since the beginning of time and has always been viewed as a place of primary importance to a family unit. There is a never ending truth at the table even when life changes and our own truth seems to change. Time spent at the table is symbolic of people in our lives, present and not present. It is symbolic of events, conversations, announcements, holidays and basically life just happening. It is a place of establishment. It creates memories, good and bad, and represents people coming and going in our lives. It can be a special place where we call on the presence of God and have sacred moments at the “Sacred Table.”
Some benefits of gathering at the table and eating a meal together and keeping our families connected and healthy are astonishing! Researchers like those from the American Psychological Association have done studies showing families that eat together regularly, have much happier, stable lives. Also, households with children, especially those with teens, usually have better relationships with their friends and teachers. They have higher grades, stronger attendance, and seem more motivated to better themselves. They are also less likely to “cave” to the pressures of drugs, sex and alcohol because they know they belong to a “tribe” that they will have to answer to. In other words, the table creates community which helps them feel responsible to someone other than themselves; this is created when we gather, eat, and share MANY times a week! We know someone cares about us other than ourselves. We are less likley to miss crucial moments with each other when we gather and commune regularly. The “Sacred Table” can be so powerful!
It is interesting to pause and reflect on “the table.” When you think about it a bit, it is a powerful place. World rulers negotiate peace and war. Marriages are negotiated to fail or heal, parents negotiate with teens and we gather as a family to determine destiny and make decisions. When people gather at a table, body language is more intentional and precise and we tend to focus better on the situation at hand.
So in closing, I hope we have been able to bring an awareness to the table or the “Sacred Place .” It is a place where so many things happen. (It makes me understand better, that when someone dies, we usually want their kitchen table; especially if they were a positive,happy influence in our lives.) Thus goes the saying; “If only this table could talk!” A kitchen table (or sacred place if you will) is a place where:
- Souls and minds are fed.
- Conversations happen.
- Life changing moments take place.
- Emotions are shared.
- Truths are revealed.
- Manners are taught.
- Friends are made.
- People meet.
- Board games are played.
- Books are written.
- Songs are sung.
- Ideas are shared.
- Great recipes are exchanged.
- Compliments and criticisms are given.
- God is honored and exalted.
- Prayers are said.
- Toasts are made.
- Good and bad food is eaten.
- Sharing and giving happens.
- Manners are taught and practiced.
- People fall in love.
What are your convictions about the kitchen table? Is the kitchen table one of your “sacred places”, and if it wasn’t, is it now? Do you now look at the kitchen table a little differently and as a powerful, impactful place for you and your loved ones? Are you utilizing this “sacred place” to its full potential? When you go home today, will you look at your grandmother’s or your grandfather’s kitchen table differently?
– Jacqui Griffith
The Farmhouse Movement Team