Thursday, January 1, 2015

Tablet to Table

From Tablet to Table: Where Community Is Found and Identity Is Formed

I've been wanting to try a book by Leonard Sweet for quite a while. His newest work "Tablet to Table" proved an ideal place to start. 
This is a straight-from-the-heart treatise on good food and the eating of it.  

When you really think about it, what did Jesus give us at the Last Supper? What was Communion? 
It was a meal together, with all the steps that meals entail-food grown, harvested, prepared, served, and eaten.
All in memory of Him.
How... ordinary. How... natural. How... simple. How... joyful. How... healing. How... perfect.
That was His idea of a sacrament. 

Most people I know would never dream of entering a Church and receiving Communion. 
It turns them off for many reasons, some legitimate and some petty. 
Yet these same heretics instinctively understand the beauty of meals eaten with their people. 
(We've made sacraments much more obscure and obtuse than they need to be. It doesn't diminish the holy if you have vegetable lasagna, chocolate chip cookies and strawberries as your bread and wine.)

Imagine how many more people would come to the Lord's Table if they experienced it as a meal with friends in the presence of God?
I think, like Len suggests, that if we preached a Table Gospel, these same folks would respond. 
They'd find their cravings satisfied with His food.

The title of this book interests me, because it can have two meanings. 
We picture the Word of God coming down from heaven on the stone tablets, and for Moses it did. 
Yet once the Word was given, how did they make it their own? 
That happened around tables, where human beings refreshed themselves and thought about what God had done so far. 

And today, we can get the Word again on tablets, the electronic kind, with Bible studies and sermons and products designed for Christians. 
Yet how do we invite our friends into His Word? 
It's probably done best through our tables, where mystery and revelation go together with steak and mushrooms. 

This short little book will get you inspired to be a Table Christian.
Len helps us see food as Divine provision *and* loving human handiwork, resulting in communal benefits of nutrition, pleasure, and fellowship. 
(There's no bias against take-out here either, so don't fear a unwarranted cooking burden on your back.)

You'll be encouraged to make dining a sacred thing, not by being formal but by being conscious of God's place with you at the table. 
Arguments and bitter words should have no place at a meal... especially with kids around. 
Let's serve each other grace with our salads and pizzas. 

You'll be amazed at the power of Table Talk- the stories that slip out when people grow comfortable, the way we want to share our hearts in safety. 
Ruth and Boaz shared food in the barley field, Abraham and Sarah made dinner for the Angel of the Lord. Great things happen, then and now, when we get people around a table. 

As far as I'm concerned, Tablet to Table could be three times longer, and it would have been fascinating. As it is, it's a more succinct read, but quite enjoyable. 

Thank you Tyndale and NavPress for my review copy. 

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