“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5 NIV)
When I returned home for visits from college, my mother delighted to fix a favorite meal for dinner one evening on that weekend. Showing love with food is one of the most common practices across human cultures. Everyone has some version of a hospitality ethic.
Sometimes it is practiced within the family in order to strengthen the bonds of relationship. Other times it is practiced for a guest in order to extend to them the feeling of home.
David has known not only dark valleys (perhaps he was including difficulties of his own making in this image?), but also hostile enemies (David knew this experience well).
Now this is a rich juxtaposition.
When we find ourselves in the presence of hostility, God is there extending us hospitality: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
When we are put on the defensive, God is present giving us a feeling of home.
Exercise: How can you practice hospitality? When can you “prepare a table” in order to strengthen relationships or extend a sense of home to someone. Can you find a way–simple or elaborate–to help someone experience the comfort of hospitality this week.
Prayer: God, thank you that when I am faced with hostility, you extend hospitality to me. Help me to find myself at home in your presence, and to extend that sense of home to someone, today. Amen.