By Colleen Smith
I want to take a moment to invite you to my table. This isn’t just any table. This is a table that was built out of a dream. I said one day many years ago that I would love to have a big table with benches. You know, like a picnic table to gather all my people around and share a meal. A few months later, one part of this table became a reality as we replaced my teeny tiny table for three-and-a-half with a table for eight, and this weekend that table for eight became a table for 16-20. I want you to know that this isn’t just any table; this is a table that’s been a labor of love from my church. The hands and feet of Jesus, the students I serve, the people in my church who love me and love the ministry God has called me to have labored over.
I would tell you that this is no ordinary table. This is the table where I fight my battles out with Jesus, where I am writing my deepest hurts in a book. Where people meet Jesus, question Jesus, and make life-altering decisions. This table holds secrets that will never leave the table, puddles of tears. Happy, sad, remorseful, and sympathetic tears have been cried at this table. More mourning than I like to remember or talk about has happened at this table. College applications have been submitted at this table, thousands of games have been played at this table. Hundreds of meals, hot chocolate dates, and cookies have been consumed here.
I would tell you that this table is the most sacred place in my home, next to the kitchen window. I would tell you that my heart longs for this table to be the place people come to lament, to change their lives, to hear about the hope there is for them in this world. I long for this table to be full of laughter, full bellies, cups of coffee, games, tears of joy, and tears of pain being comforted.
Welcome to my table, the space where I will relentlessly pursue Jesus, where I will cry more times than I’d like to admit as I journey and journal through the deepest parts of my heart. Welcome to my table, the gathering place where, if people know nothing else, they will know that there is a place for them at this table. Jesus, a meal, a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or tea will be waiting for them. A comforting hug between tears of pain, a crazy white girl dancing with tears of joy around the kitchen to celebrate, a basket of games to make memories, a quiet space to mourn, and battle it out. This table, this home, this heart is the gathering space where we become family, where we find hope together and where we chase after our wildest, biggest, most audacious prayers, dreams, and goals together.
Colleen Smith is a missionary of Captivate Church, Baltimore, and the founder and director of GEM: East Baltimore, a mentoring/ministry of Captivate Church.