The Many Tables We Gather Around

Stewardship Reflection, Friday, October 22

By: Charmaine Trice

A recent Sunday scripture reading ended with, “…mercy triumphs over judgement. What good is it my brothers and sisters if you say you have faith but do not have works?” Simple acts of mercy and kindness change lives.

I find something nearly every Sunday in the reading, lesson, or sermon that speaks to the mission of outreach. I suppose that makes complete sense because we are learning about the life of Jesus – a man who walked with, sat with, and shared a table with the broken, the lonely, the sick, and the poor.

Some time ago, I stumbled across a quote that stuck with me: “I’m not interested whether you have stood with the great; I’m interested whether you have sat with the broken.” Recently, I was reminded of this during an Outreach Committee meeting – a group gathered to help us carry out the mission of Outreach: “…to seek and serve Christ in all persons, caring for and loving the most vulnerable …” At St. Mary’s and beyond these walls, there are many tables that we gather around with a shared purpose, and everybody has a seat.

In the past, we shared our St. Mary’s home with friends of CARITAS. I miss those times taking care of the needs of others in our home. The hustle and bustle in the kitchen with folks preparing and serving meals; many hands setting up a safe sleeping space for our guests; sitting together during meals, playing games, and having conversation. Pinned to the outreach bulletin board, you will find a note from a CARITAS guest and many other moments captured over the past 18 months of your generosity, graciousness, and works in action. We made room for everybody, and bit-by-bit our table grew into the community.

Most recently, we welcomed Cameron and Celeste of Education=Hope to St. Mary’s. Celeste’s descriptions of conditions in Ecuador, Haiti, Rwanda, and Kenya gave insightful meaning to the vulnerable – people living in desperate and difficult situations. Yet, living with hope and gratitude. Thanks to the devotion of St. Mary’s mission team who annually travel to serve in Quito, Ecuador, our table has grown to the world beyond.

Our tables are good reminders. Rather than getting bogged down in what often feels like a world full of adversity, animosity, and grievances, WE can do our part – the work of God – with hope, gratitude, and JOY, bit-by-bit.

Or one-by-one. Celeste recited a parable about a young boy who was walking along a beach covered with starfish. “Eagerly throwing them back into the ocean, one by one. The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled, and said, ‘It made a difference to that one!’” Simple acts of mercy and kindness change lives.

I am grateful for this home – St. Mary’s. To see so many come here to receive God’s love, so that we may give it back to our home, community, and beyond. That’s what our world needs right now. With God, all things are possible.