I remember sitting around the large kitchen table at Grandma’s house eating golden fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, pound cake, sugar cookies, and persimmon pudding. It was always a feast and it was always delicious. But I also enjoyed the wonderful conversation during and after mealtime. Gathered around this large table, we would talk about everything from fishing to politics. I also remember faith being an important topic (we usually had two or three preachers at the table). I would sit and listen. Sometimes I would add something to the conversation. But most of all, I would take in the many perspectives my aunts, uncles, and cousins all had on various topics. Looking back, I think I learned a lot just by listening and watching everyone’s actions and reactions.
Martin Luther used to invite friends and colleagues over to dinner and have these similar conversations. Topics ranged widely as Luther commented on his personal life, his perspectives on theology and scripture, his comments on political and social topics, and more. I’ve heard that nothing was “off the table.” There’s actually a collection of these conversations called “Table Talk” which are quite interesting to read. I don’t know if Luther’s Table Talk was as fun and memorable as Grandma’s, but I imagine it was stimulating to all who participated.
In this age of so much screen time, finding time for table conversation can be harder and harder. But mealtime is a great opportunity to turn off the TV, put away the phones, and listen to one another. Therefore, we’re going to try something at Salem this month to encourage more table talk. I have created paper placemats for you to take home each week after worship. Now these aren’t just any placemats, but “Table Talk” placemats. On each of the four corners you will find a question that pertains to our faith. The questions aren’t difficult; actually some of them are simply fun. Here are some examples: What do you think heaven is like? Which of God’s creatures impresses you the most? What do you believe about angels?
I encourage you to take some placemats each week. Try to use them at least one evening a week to share some thoughts about faith. Remember, church isn’t supposed to be just a Sunday thing, but something we do every day as followers and learners of Christ.
Have Fun & Happy Table Talk!