Text: Psalm 23
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
I am struck by the image of the prepared table. Last week (in the story of the road to Emmaus) it was at the table in the breaking and blessing of the bread that their eyes were opened to a new way of being in the world. Here, the table is prepared before me, in the presence of my enemies.
I understand preparing tables. I write this less than a week before Christmas, thinking of preparing the table for my family. I’ll polish the silver candlesticks inherited from my mother, I’ll use my grandmothers crystal, and create the best feast my pocketbook and culinary abilities will permit, including recipes for dishes served in my family as far back as I can remember. I look forward to the table prepared for family and those I love. But what about the table prepared… in the presence of my enemies? Who are my enemies? Do I want them at my table?
Who are your enemies? Do you want them at your prepared table?
This psalm is so full of abundance – green pastures, still waters, right paths, presence, comfort, and overflowing cup. Why are my enemies in this picture, at my table?
Imagine your table. Draw a picture. What foods? What implements? What dishes? What decorations? What music? What friends?
Who is your enemy? Name them. What does their presence add to the table?
Why might God want them there? Can you welcome your enemy to this gracious table?
– Beth Harrison