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About the Theme

Coming to the Table

We come sharing our stories, receiving and extending grace, and willing to risk being transformed through life at the table.

Christ overturns the tables of the money changers in the temple (Mark 11; Matthew 21; John 2), is anointed by women at the table (woman with an alabaster jar of ointment—Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 7; Mary with perfume—John 12), heals and teaches of hospitality and humility around the table (Luke 14); gets up from the table to wash the feet of the disciples (John 13).

Christ breaks bread with the disciples at the table before his death (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22), reveals himself at the table in Emmaus (Luke 24), and commissions the disciples around the table after his resurrection (Mark 16).  Paul confronts the church in Corinth for its abuses of the table (1 Corinthians 11).

The words and deeds of Christ make it clear that the table is an expansive and revolutionary place around which we are called to gather and grow as disciples of hospitality and grace.

In harmony with biblical stories, we envision our community as a place in which experiences of people gathered for a shared meal around the table are centered on the gifts of hospitality and narrative.  As we welcome you to the School of Divinity table, we recognize that you bring with you a wealth of rich traditions, spiritual practices, and personal encounters with God.  Though this is certainly a time and place for new beginnings, you have been deeply shaped by such experiences, and we seek to honor them and to learn from them.

In that regard, we are all invited to the Wake Div table for dialogue that is rooted in openness without having to leave behind personal experience.  Such conversations and interactions are not particularly easy, and those with differing beliefs and practices are too often reduced to their theological stances. However, “Coming to the Table” is not simply showing up to a place, but rather it is a pattern of behaviors, priorities, and skills for fostering community by listening deeply and sharing vulnerably.  We invite you into a shared sense of community and “table manners” to help create a posture of welcome and vulnerability with the hope that everyone may both see and be seen with authenticity and love.  Such a sense of “Coming to the Table” is both a great gift and an enormous challenge in diverse environments.

In this ecumenical community, grounding ourselves in a place at the table offers the opportunity to hear the stories of others, to show them hospitality, and to see them through the lens of Christ’s grace.  Around the table, we may honor and celebrate each person’s identities and experiences as part of the collective whole without losing the particular to the universal.  Around the table, we may learn and practice the communication skills needed for ministries of the church in the world across lines of difference.  Around the table, we gather, trusting in the power of hospitality and grace to transform our relationships, our communities, and the world.  

- Lindsey and Chelsea