I love my church! More specifically, I love the heart of the people and their desire to bless and serve and celebrate the One we worship in as many amazing ways as possible. Last night was just the latest in a long line of such times, so I thought I would share a little bit of Oak Hill with all of you today as a way of encouragement.
Our Activity Center was indeed a hive of activity last evening as we fit as many women as possible around 40 beautifully decorated tables to enjoy delicious food, enjoy fellowship, and begin the celebration of the Advent season. The men of our church served the tables and entertained us in song. Four wonderful women shared with us life stories focused on the traditional themes of Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love.
Each table was decorated differently–an expression of love and creativity–set with everything fine china to patriotic salute to military service. I had the privilege of decorating two tables this year and the hardest thing about doing that was deciding which of the many ones I could envision in my head should actually become reality.
I was hostess at what was definitely the most basic of the two, but my ladies were gracious and lovely. The decorations looked nothing like Christmas and I felt the need to explain, so I wrote a table legend to help them understand why I had made those selections. I was asked to share it publicly, and so here it is:
Table Legend (for Ladies Night Out at OHBC 11.15.16)
This table was inspired by a quote from Beth Moore’s latest study, Entrusted, on 2 Timothy. As she talked about theology Beth wrote, “We don’t have to have matching plates to sit at the same table as long as Christ is seated at the head.” I like that…and I’m a fan of mixing more than matching, so here we are!
There are pieces on this table that were created over 100 years apart. Whether we are new to the body of Christ or have been with Him for years, we are still created to perform an important function: we are vessels to be used by our Creator. By ourselves we cannot feed the souls of those around us, but we can be used to showcase the Bread of Life and share the Living Water. Together, we can be a display of harmony to a world that is even more powerful because of all of our differences. The dishes don’t all match. Nor do we…and that’s a good thing, because although we share a common goal, we have individual callings and personalized giftings in this life.
On the rim of the white plates and, as part of the rim on the Blue Willow, you will see one of the most important symbols in ancient Greek society: a Greek key design, representing the twists and turns of the River Meander. For this table, it represents all of the twists and turns it took for each of us to arrive where we are tonight. Each journey is different, but our destination should still be the same: to be like Jesus.
The interlocking part of the key design represents friendship. For this table, it signifies that we are united in Christ.
Each place card is topped by a sprig of fresh rosemary positioned across each name. Rosemary is the symbol of remembrance. Its pungent fragrance is a reminder that that we are to change the flavor of the atmosphere around us and be the aroma of Christ wherever we go. “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” I Corinthians 2:15 (NIV)
Each name is individual and represents someone created on purpose, known, and deeply loved by God. You are special. Don’t ever lose sight of that.
It is my prayer that this evening will be the start of your best-ever holiday season as we continue our journeys, deepen our friendships, remember our mission, celebrate our differences, and choose to join in celebrating His coming to save those He so deeply loves.
Welcome to the table.
Grace & Peace (and NO COMPLAINTS!)
(Oh! And for your entertainment today, I hope you’ll check out the Oak Hill Women’s Ministry Facebook page, see even more gorgeous photos of our evening–and make sure you click on the video of Oak Hill’s “Eleven Men of Christmas” from last night…https://www.facebook.com/Oak-Hill-Womens-Ministry-570212709733326/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE)