No place at the table? Think again

“That’s NO serving dish,” the Preacher said. With emphasis.

Christmas dinner, 2019. We’d planned to have it at our daughter’s home, a five minute drive from us, but the grandbeans had become quite ill, though well prayed for and taken care of. I tried not to worry much.

We’d invited friends, but they’d decided instead on a quiet Christmas. Just the two of them, making just the two of us; alone for our first Christmas Day in over four decades. We’ll feast anyway, we decided. Celebrate Christ’s birthday with some our favourite foods. Chicken. Salad. Stuffing. Cranberries. More salad. Vegetables. And did I say salad? Not expecting solitude, we had plenty.

Just one problem. We were (still are, at this writing) playing musical houses. Making a gradual transition from Tinytown (population about 200), to Smallcity (population, five thousand).  We’d moved some things over to the new place, a car load at a time, but not nearly all. And not our serving dishes. I’d used the four soup bowls we had already, but I refused to serve the stuffing in the large plastic measuring cup we’d mixed it in. We had candles on the table, for goodness sake. And matching plates.

“I know,” I said. “I’ll go shopping in the chattels.”

Our new garage held a multitude of items that came with the house. Chattels, the realtors called them. Earlier in the week, I’d spotted a large white ceramic bowl in one of the storage boxes. It seemed vaguely familiar; I wasn’t sure why. Nicely shaped, with a wide fluted mouth and one elegant handle. It could serve the purpose, and the stuffing, nicely.

It only took a moment to find it again. But as I carried it to the sink for washing, the Preacher eyed it with suspicion.

“Kathleen. THAT is a chamber pot. A pee pot. You’re not using that to serve my stuffing in.”

“A what?” Startled, I stuck my nose inside its wide mouth. “Smells fine!” He rolled his eyes. “We’ll use it as a centrepiece then,” I said. I placed a blooming cactus inside the pot, set it between the candles. “But if we ever get company I don’t like, I’ll serve mashed potatoes in it.” He grimaced.

Do you ever feel like an unlikely vessel? I do, often. As though, in spite of my decent exterior, if people knew what I’ve been used for, what sins have soiled me, they’d never want me at their table, let alone serving them good words and acts of kindness.

But scripture reminds me: Through his Son’s death on the cross, God offers a way to newness. Forgiveness. Redemption, no matter one’s past. When I accepted that offer, I became a new creature, with a different purpose and a higher destination. Deemed precious. Whiter than our chamber pot. A reflection of Jesus Christ. Fit for our King’s table.

God’s offer is open to all. Hope to see you at the table.

The very one…
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