Monday, July 01, 2019

The Moderator's Column

Who can sit at YOUR Table?

I have been on part of my Sabbath Rest and spent some time in a place most people don’t even know about called Sneads Ferry, NC. It is just down the road from the Jacksonville, where Camp Lejeune, one of the largest Marine training camps, is located.

Our son made arrangements for us to stay at a nice hotel that was very close to everything. It had a great pool but was just across from the ocean and beautiful beaches, close to lots of great food locations - including fresh water fish restaurants - and anything you needed to buy.

I soon found out hat many Marine families came there to stay short-term to be close to their dads/moms/sons/daughters/sisters/ brothers, while they are stationed at Camp Lejeune.

Although I was NOT supposed to be working while in North Carolina, because of the length of my stay, I soon became like a “hostess” in the breakfast room as I met people and watched how friendly they were about sharing their tables with one another.

Since my husband is not an early riser I was on my own, which gave me leverage of having a table to share. One morning I met Sara, the sweetest little 4 year-old you can imagine with bright red pigtails, a lovely sundress with a big smile, and a gift to gab that was amazing! She was with her soldier Daddy and her Mommy, who had brought her from Oklahoma to see him. They wanted to surprise him and show him how well they were doing without him!

She plopped her food down at my table, then said very seriously to me: "We’ve been watching you and it’s okay for us to sit with you. We saw you pray for your food and you’re not like some of the other people in here. You’re the same color as us and you dress nice like us so my folks will be okay with us sitting with you. And before I could even respond, she hollered out, “Come on…there’s a place that is just right for us at this table!” And with that I met Bruce and Elizabeth and Sara and found out their story. I was a little shell-shocked and didn’t know whether to be happy or sad that they chose my table after what Sara said to me. I learned a lot about what Sara was thinking and learning about people! I tried very gracefully to tell them who I really was but am not sure they really got them to understand.

In the next few days, Sara, Bruce, and Elizabeth did not sit with me again. It may be because in those days I invited the really loving black family from New York who had saved to come to a beach and have a great time. I ate another day with a young girl from Iran and her children who were staying at the hotel and their Dad was coming from the base to have breakfast with them each day, then would spend the weekend with them at the hotel. They were excited to be there and to tell me that they are all citizens of America.

I write these things from my heart because I am challenging all of us to examine who can sit at our table?  Jesus said, “All can come to mine!”  We must make sure that we are teaching our young generations what Jesus really wants us to be like!