‘You’ll have to meet the neighbours, first’, we were told by the elderly gentleman, considering giving his lovely (but ancient!) five bedroomed house to our church to use as a Manse in 1979, ‘We’ll have to see if you pass the test’
And so we nervously gathered round a lovely Victorian oak table with the neighbours for a roast beef dinner, hoping we would meet with approval. A huge rib of beef appeared from the coal fired cooker range in the kitchen and after ‘a word of prayer’, the serious task of carving great chunks off it began. ‘Do you like your beef on the lean, or on the fat?’ each of us were asked.
The memory of that meal and all those gathered there came back to me crystal clear when we sadly said farewell to that table on Friday. We had passed the neighbours test and that table went on to dominate our dining room for thirty three years, as the house became our home.
The table (which extended to 11 feet, nearly 4 metres, and could seat fourteen) was too big for the flat we are moving to in a few weeks time so sadly had to be sold, and it was with a lump in my throat I watched it go down our road, on a roof track …so many memories, so many meals, so many prayer breakfasts. I felt like I’d betrayed it. It was the Lord’s Table. He had met us so many times around it. What had I done?
But then that evening I got a text from the new owner, absolutely delighted with it; it was being enjoyed by his family, the children were playing hide and seek under it, they were Christians and like us believed that the table should be the heart of their home. It was still The Lord’s Table.