Eating in the Presence of Enemies

Eating in the Presence of Enemies

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” Psalm 23: 5

If there was one thing I could go back in time to do over, it would be dinner. I’m not thinking of any particular dinner, but the routine of sharing dinner together as a family. As I look back on our life, our children would have learned more and discovered a greater sense of life at our dinner table than kicking a soccer ball around. Instead, we pushed family meals off to the side. Choosing instead to eat on the run or when we were half asleep.

When our children were very young, Peggy demanded we eat together. At the time, there was always some pressing issue standing in my way of dinner. A phone call, a visit, some colossal need which could not wait. Funny, how when we set aside the time to eat, the world did not fall apart. The anxieties of the world took a time out. They stood on the outside of our table while we laughed, shared stories and discovered the joy of a shared life.

My birthday is always a source of debate. Peggy gets mad that I don’t want a present. The only thing I want is to have dinner with my family. A moment, an hour, or maybe more, to spend sharing the life which has always given me life. Presents are objects which will wear out and fade away. The life they bring will be fleeting. But a dinner together with our children is life beyond measure.

Verse 5 in the 23rd Psalm seems like such a strange source of comfort. Why would anyone find joy eating in the presence of enemies?  Yet, sitting down to eat a meal is a calming activity. Even when the conversation is not passive. One has to rest to sit down and eat. So, the Lord provides peace in the midst of a threatening environment.

Our culture needs to learn that the pace of our life, the constant pressure to go, has become an enemy. An enemy that is destroying us from within. Should it surprise us that our children suffer from anxiety when all we talk about is how they performed and what they still need to do? We need to relax, laugh and eat lasagna. When we sit down at a table in the presence of our enemy, we discover the Lord is with us. And, we remember the gift of life.

Click to read: Psalm 23

Reflection Questions:

  • Where do you feel rushed to the point of suffering in your life?
  • Looking back at your life, what would you do differently to discover joy?
  • What is preventing you from making that change now?
  • How does Psalm 23 speak to your soul?

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