The world around my table

The world around my table

October 25, 2018 0 By Janneke

Finally: The blog title

Here he goes! But What Do We Call This? was a question I asked a few weeks ago when we finished our blog course.

It took me a while to find a good title for this blog. It went from: Between the Laundry Lines (too female-only) to: Table Talk (with a wink to Luther, but not available) to Timeless Table to Janneke’s Jottings. (I do not want my name in this title anymore!) Pelgrima came along and it all resulted in a very lively conversation on Facebook that definitely stirred some laughter, but finally, I decided to choose this title:

The World Around My Table

The answer came with a few visitors: a local Roma baka and different leaders, bishops and a writing class, all within a few days. Yet another group came, and I suddenly realized: these people resemble my blog readers. 

Grandma Baka Katica came to our house. My friend Megan stopped by and brought this Roma grandma along. We all love her so very much, and that is not hard. She just sat there for a few minutes. She did not realize how very blessed I felt by her presence at our kitchen table. Her looks are those of a real baka (grandma), a bit chubby and mostly plain. Her hair stuck to her head, and her sparkling eyes were bright and observing. Although she was dressed in her best, her old clothes draped around her. An apron covered her dress. She did not need anything but just seemed to enjoy the moment too—the kids in the house, some drinks, and nothing other than companionship. We offered her food and all, but no: Give it to the children! was her reply. And, we all know how little she has in her cupboards. A few crumbs and not much more. But, happily, she went home with a good hand-knitted blanket made by some ladies that we got to pass along. We know that she goes home to her tiny house of 3 by 3 metres. It used to have a dirt floor, which was recently covered in cement. It’s better but cold. May this blanket be a blessing!

A few days later, three Anglican Bishops from England came for meetings in our local church here in Osijek. With that, very different people were sitting around our table and stayed with us for a few days. One of them has been Chaplain of the Queen and our table manners needed some finetuning;-) But our guests were so enjoyable and easy going: each time you offered a pot of hot black tea, a smile from ear to ear would appear on the faces, accompanied by more table conversations and encouragement. Our girls’ English accents were reawakened. We had good conversations. It was nice to be asked a few questions about our lives. It helps to reflect and put things in perspective. And so we enjoyed unity in diversity. But all these guests were not the only ones who stopped by.

An ancient angel at the table.

One of these days, I had another visitor. The author of the ancient letter to the Hebrews stopped by, and this is what he said:

Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Is he the same author who wrote a kind of prayer, centuries ago, in Ephesians 3:17–20

And it is my prayer for all of us around this table:

17 that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith—that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Maybe you are an angel who stops by.

Usually, I write my blogs on our kitchen table. When I do, I imagine you sitting next to me as if we were in conversation, because I love spending time with you; it’s the main reason for my blogging.

I hope that this blog helps to make visible the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ. The rich, the poor, the well-educated, and the non-educated, the beggar and the Queen—we all have one thing in common: a heart. May this place be a place in which we discover new corners.

So, take a seat at this invisible table, pour a drink, make yourself at home, and let’s spend some time together for a bit. As always, I would love to hear from you!

I will respond, usually within a few days.

Warm greetings, Janneke

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