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Expanding the Table
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Dear friends,

Wow. Last Thursday night, we launched our first Local Table — a gathering of friends, family, neighbors, and people-who-used-to-be-strangers. If you showed up, thank you. It. Was. Amazing. There was holy conversation and laughter and love… and a whole lot of tacos. Since it was our first gathering, it was, like each of us, a work in progress. It was beautiful and messy. Sacred and silly. By the grace of God, it was an amazing way to start this movement.

Each time we gather, our conversation will center on a theme. Last week our theme was “making space” — creating room in our busy lives for what’s most important. Below, I’ll offer three ways to do that, but if you weren’t there, here’s what you missed:

We talked about parts of our lives as a “junk drawer” — full of things that don’t feed our spirit, things that leave us lifeless and empty. And we explored the need to carve out space amidst the busyness and the relentless hustle to simply be still and listen — to let go of some life-draining things and make space for life-giving things. In so doing, little by little, we'll become more aware of God’s presence in our midst and notice Jesus at work in our every day.

This was the task we were sent with:

Take five (or even ten) minutes each day to be still. Find a quiet place with few distractions. Maybe you want to linger on a bible verse like Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Or maybe you just want to, like Elijah, simply listen for a “still small voice.” If your mind wanders and it’s filled with your own junk drawer of thoughts, that’s okay. What’s important is that you’re showing up and making space.

⏰ Try this in the morning:

Perhaps morning is the best time for you to find some stillness. Rather than reaching for your phone first thing, offer a quick prayer. You can do this before your feet even hit the floor. Find a short one you can memorize. I like this one:

New every morning is your love, Great God of light,
and all day long you are working for good in the world.
Stir up in us desire to serve you,
to live peacefully with our neighbors,
and to devote each day to your Son,
our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

📖 Try this during the day:

When you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or in between meetings or while you’re waiting to pick up your kids from school or in line to check out at Harris Teeter, instead of pulling out your phone to refresh Twitter or check your email or see how your bracket is faring (thanks, UMBC 🙄), take a moment to simply breathe — knowing that in every breath, the Spirit of God is witnessing to your spirit that you are beloved, God’s own, fearfully and wonderfully made. And it’s that same Spirit you exhale into the world.

🌝 Try this at night:

At the end of a long day, before settling in to plow through your Netflix queue, take five to sit and reflect on your day — praying for the people you encountered, confessing the ways you weren’t at your best, remembering the grace of Jesus, and giving thanks for small, sacred moments of beauty and delight.

"Known" by  Scott Erickson

"Known" by Scott Erickson

The more we incorporate these practices into our regular rhythms, the more aware we’ll become of the moments and movements of grace every day. The more attuned we'll be to the voice of God. There’s more to come next week that I’m excited to share. But in the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Reply to this email and let me know how you’re trying to make space. Is it easy? Difficult? What are your biggest obstacles? Y’all, I’m with you. It’s really hard. But I hope you’re finding some peace along the way — however fleeting it may be.

I am with you and for you,

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P.S. Before you go, be sure to mark your calendars for our next Local Table on Thursday, April 5 at 6:00 pm in the Briar Clubhouse in Briar Chapel (bring a friend!) and our first mission opportunity on Saturday, April 7 with Rebuilding Together of the Triangle (bring a friend to this, too!). We'll be building a wheelchair ramp and doing exterior repairs on a home in Chatham County.