In search of a Round Table

Thanks to Bishop Alan’s blog for alerting me to this poem. I don’t always ‘get’ poetry but this one worked for me.

In search of a round table

Concerning the why and how and what and who of ministry,
One image keeps surfacing: A table that is round.
It will take some sawing
To be roundtabled.
Some redefining
And redesigning,
Some redoing and rebirthing
Of narrow long Churching
Can painful be
For people and tables.
It would mean no daising
And throning,
For but one king is there
And he is a foot washer,
At table no less.
And what of narrow long ministers
When they confront
A round table people,
After years of working up the table
To finally sit at its head,
Only to discover
That the table has been turned round?
They must be loved into roundness,
For God has called a People
Not “them and us”.
“them and us” are unable
to gather round; for at a round table
there are no sides
and ALL are invited
to wholeness and to food.
At one time
Our narrowing churches
Were built to resemble the Cross
But it does no good
For building to do so,
If lives do not.
Round tabling means
No preferred seating,
No first and last,
No better, and no corners
For the “least of these”.
Roundtabling means
Being with,
A part of,
Together and one.
It means room for the Spirit
And gifts
And disturbing profound peace for all.
We can no longer prepare for the past.
To be Church,
And if He calls for other than a round table
We are bound to follow.
Leaving the sawdust
And chips, designs and redesigns
Behind, in search of and in presence of
The Kingdom
That is His and not ours.

Chuck Lathrop

Last night at church, whilst elbow deep in soap suds washing dishes, a visitor said to me in a startled voice, “But you shouldn’t be doing dishes, Ruth! You’re the priest, you do the other things.”  I tell you, that shocked me. And I won’t reveal what church she goes to, either!

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