The Story of Table

It’s been the conviction of me and my wife, Naomi that transformation happens in people’s lives when they can experience the kind of welcome that Jesus extended to people.  Since 2008, we’ve been opening up our home in Rocky River along with other friends who generously open their homes to our neighbors and friends to pull up a chair at our table.

Two of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life say that he came to earth “eating and drinking.”  That wasn’t just an offhand comment by the Gospel writers. It was a description of Jesus’s ministry plan: to welcome people into his presence while food and beverages being shared.  He often invited the “wrong” kinds of people to look across a table into his compassionate eyes, as he listened to them and shared not only food and beverages with them, but the very words of life.  To him they were the right kinds of people. The kinds of people who knew they desparately needed him.

So, we’ve been opening our table and our home to our friends and neighbors over the years to provide a space for people to experience the listening ears, compassionate eyes, and caring heart of Jesus through us.  We’ve formally been operating as a mini-church of sorts - a Missional Community since the middle of 2017 out of Renew Communities. Since that time, other Tables have been doing the same kind of ministry with the image of a table at the center in the West Park and Jefferson Park neighborhoods of Cleveland.  We’ve had the opportunity to be a blessing to dozens of people who have made their way to the Table and have been blessed by each and every one who pull up a chair at our table.

It’s our desire at the Table to live our lives in such a way that we create spaces for sharing our lives with people across many tables in order to be present with one another in the same way Jesus desires to be present with us - and them.  As we finish up 2018, we are planning to formally identify as a church along with other friends who love sharing their tables with others. Church is a word that in Biblical Greek simply means assembly or gathering. We’re simply an extended family of friends who gather as sinners and saints to taste and see that Jesus is good.  We also taste some delicious food and beverages along the way.

Matt Buehrle

Table Guardian/Pastor

December 2018