The Larger Table

Katie Maxwell

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:17-20)

Not long ago, I sat down for a conversation with Sheli Massie, founder of The Goldfinch Cafe in Aurora, Illinois. The Goldfinch Cafe is Aurora’s first pay-what-you-can cafe. Once it opens, it “will offer locally sourced food, bringing dignity back to the table and offering a solution to what people are hungry for today, sustainable change.”

I love the food imagery in that vision statement. I love it because Sheli realized she could address food insecurity in her community by centering inclusivity, kindness, and dignity around the practice of breaking bread together. She talks a lot about “making the table longer,” which I believe is a beautiful embodiment of loving our siblings in Christ through action.

No matter how much money you have, no matter your gender or sexual identity, no matter if you have been questioning your faith, you belong at God’s Table. God’s Table is about abundance rather than scarcity—where everyone is loved and accepted as they are and where everyone has access to the resources we all need to thrive. God’s Table isn’t simply for those who have returned to our Creator, but it is present in the sacraments and in moments when partnering with our siblings to meet their needs transforms all of our lives. 

Prayer: God, open my heart to a vision of abundance and transformational love this Lenten season. Grant me the courage to pay kindness forward, to invest in my community, and to build a bigger table. Amen

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