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  • Writer's picturePastor Rachael Chinnery Todman

Introducing Hopes Way’s New Blog


You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. {Psalm 23:5 NASB}

I found myself using this term “Table Talk” more than 20 years ago. At the time, I did not know it was a “thing.” I began using the table as a place for easy conversation as practice for myself and my family after my first semester in Bible College. In one of my classes, I had to do a report on the Jewish festivals. From my research and studies, I realized that the Jewish people including Jesus used the table quite a bit not only for eating, but asking and answering questions. It seemed to be as a place of deep discussion especially when it came to passing on their faith. It seemed to me that they spent a lot of time around the table

It was at my dining room table that my inner healing began. As this practice of sharing our feelings emerged the inner healing process with my family started. We began to use the table not only for meals but to talk about whatever was happening in our lives during the given week. We shared tidbits, like magazine articles, newspaper articles or books that related to any area of interest that pertained to another family member. It was also the place that I taught my daughters to pray for themselves and each other.

The table became the place where we brought any emotional issue that any person in the family was dealing with. Individually or collectively the table was the place where we tried to listen to each other and after listening and sharing we prayed for each other.

Looking back, this practice helped me to prepare for public ministry. At one point when I became in ministry I was in charge of a group of about 15 young adults in my local church. It was called “Care Group.” This gave me a chance to expand on table talk. Again, we used it to share our stories, our pain, our joys. Being at the table was where good food was served for the body; but spiritual food for the soul and spirit was served also through such processes as counseling on jobs, career, college, interpersonal relationship challenges, etc. These were discussed and prayed over. Many tears were shed at the table, and much healing took place that extended to individuals’ families.

For me, table talk is about the gift of presence, communion, the gift of community - the gift in the breaking of bread and drinking of the wine. The bread, both natural and spiritual to nourish both body, soul and spirit and the wine to bind up the wounds in body, soul and spirit. Table talk is a great place to pass on the faith and the traditions of the said family.

At the table, this gift of presence not only involves the presence of God, but the presence of each other. It is about your presence and my presence that we are giving to each other. The table welcomes us to say ‘I love you, I care about you, I am concerned about your welfare.’ I love you enough to stop and listen to your story, to feel with you, to weep with you and yes to encourage you as we walk together on the journey of life.

For me, one of the great powers in table talk is that at the table everyone is on the same level. The reason being, is that everyone at the table needs the food that is laid out before us. We all need the same thing to sustain our lives. So let's get comfortable, enjoy a good meal and allow space for relationships to thrive by listening to each other in the same space at the same time.

This blog is an extension of my life and ministry and the experiences I have gleaned on my journey. It is also a reflection from days, hours and times I have spent at the table, at home and in the marketplace. These lessons represent the nuggets of wisdom that I have taken from my own table talk, as a pastor, spiritual mother and the significance of the table spiritually and experientially.

As we are restricted to our homes these days, and our harried lives have been curtailed, let us begin to practice sitting at the table with each other. Presence is a special gift. Let us share it with love, peace and joy.

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