The Life Giving Table

Sally Clarkson, 2017, 272 pages

Rating: 4 out of 6.

How important is it to gather around the table with your family?

Sally Clarkson, the author of The Lifegiving Table, sees a table set with food as a place to nurture faith and connection along with satisfying physical hunger. In this book she explains why your table is your mission, along with giving practical ways to create an atmosphere at your table that is a source of life for both body and soul.

Mrs. Clarkson noticed that gathering around a table created a friendly opportunity to share God’s love with her children, friends or strangers. Sharing food often opened the door for more whole-hearted sharing. This book is a look at how the the Clarkson family intentionally put this into practice throughout their life. The chapters include discussions on family culture, table talk, special meals to anchor Sundays or celebrating milestones, and one-on-one tea times. The chapters end with Bible verses to ponder, suggested activities to try in your own home and some favorite family recipes.

My favorite chapter was written by Sally’s husband, Clay. He discusses the role the ‘table’ played throughout biblical history. The Bible is full of descriptions of foods and feasts. It tells of God’s provision and how his people gathered to enjoy that provision. Jesus describes himself as bread and water, two basic elements of human existence. Could there be more to this than meets the eye? The author uses Jesus as our example, quoting N. T. Wright: When Jesus wanted to explain to his followers the meaning of his death, he didn’t give them a theory; he gave them a meal.

Serving the world, in other words, begins with serving and being served in the home- and developing a right attitude about how and when to give and receive acts of loving service. And nowhere in the home, perhaps, is the concept of service more relevant than at the table. – from The Lifegiving Table by Sally Clarkson

This book opened my heart and eyes to so many new thoughts about food, eating together, and service. The first few chapters were the best. I felt like she belabored her point a bit and lifted their traditions quite high, the book could have been more concise. But the book was worth reading because it makes one aware of the importance of connection and how food is a tool to use to make those connections.

What is a food tradition you observe, and how has it helped you get closer to people?


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