Words of Hope: Banquet Table

My dad deeply loved Psalm 23. He meditated on it often. As I read C.S. Lewis’s Reflections on the Psalms, he brings attention to something I haven’t considered. He (God) prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies. Lewis wrestled with this image of himself enjoying a bountiful meal while his enemies look on mashing their teeth in envy. I never thought of this image that way. I took it to mean that even when we are surrounded by enemies, God provides abundance and peace. I also had a new thought, what if the table where we are seated is filled with people I view as my enemies. All of us sitting together in God’s presence. The enemies that troubled me in life are now friends, seated together in peace, grace, and love. This image thrills my heart the most. God who transforms enemies into friends, God as the ultimate reconciler when all else seems impossible. I would love to ask Dad his thoughts about this read of one of his favorite psalms. Dad had few enemies, but he did have some. People he felt hurt him or others who felt hurt by him. How did he imagine the presence of enemies at the banquet table?  

Leonard Cohen, who wrote the obscure song “Hallelujah,” became famous when the cartoon movie Shrek used his song. It rapidly became one of the most well-known songs of the age. He apparently had a vicious court battle with his former manager Kelley Lynch. Cohen said of the relationship, “It is my prayer that Ms. Lynch will take refuge in the wisdom of her religion, that a spirit of understanding will convert her heart from hatred to remorse, from anger to kindness, from the deadly intoxication of revenge to the lowly practices of self-reform.” 

I pray this for myself and for those who dislike me. I long for these moments. I long for those who may perceive me as an enemy to find peace. Love, forgiveness, justice, and unity banqueting at the table where Dad and I sit with enemies who God has graciously made brothers and sisters in Christ, now friends.  

You prepare a table before me 
     in the presence of my enemies. 
 You anoint my head with oil; 
     my cup overflows. 
 Surely your goodness and love will follow me 
     all the days of my life, 
 and I will dwell in the house of the Lord 

– Psalm 23:5-6