The days that we live in feel heavy. They are punctuated with political upheaval, divisive opinions, weariness within the family structure, and uncertainty in our houses of worship.
We pull and tug with each other over every imaginable opinion. Our hearts beat with a heaviness over war and mistreatment of those who bear the mark of being “different.” Our world is damaged by greed and misuse.
When I feel the weight of it all, I pray for a way to move forward. I want to find community, acceptance, and fairness. I remember the words of Micah 6:8 and pray that I can live into them.
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
As we approach this season of Thanksgiving, we anticipate the gathering of family and friends around a common table. In our gathering, may we remember that God invites all to the table in loving hospitality. God’s table is set with peace, gratitude, humility, and acceptance of all.
In 1998, Shirley Erena Murray wrote a beautiful hymn titled, For Everyone Born. This hymn represented the Christian equivalent of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” drafted by the U.N. General Council. In the hymn, she speaks about the basic human rights of all people to have adequate shelter, to abide in safety, to have enough food, and to exercise their right to free speech and worship. Through the years this hymn has expanded to remind us that we are a diverse people, yet each of us is invited to God’s table.
If you don’t know this hymn, I invite you to listen to it and make its text a prayer of your heart.
You can find several beautiful renderings of this hymn online. Here is just one for you to enjoy.
For everyone born, a place at the table, for everyone born, clean water and bread, a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing, for everyone born, a star overhead.
Refrain: And God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy,
Compassion and peace.
Yes, God will delight when we are creators of justice and joy.
For woman and man, a place at the table, revising the roles, deciding the share, with wisdom and grace, dividing the power, for woman and man, a system that’s fair.
For young and for old, a place at the table, a voice to be heard, a part in the song, the hands of a child in hands that are wrinkled, for young and for old, the right to belong.
For everyone born, a place at the table,
To live without fear, and simply to be,
To work, to speak out, to witness and worship,
For everyone born, the right to be free.
Shirley Erena Murray