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A Place at the Table

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“You prepare a table before me.” –Psalm 23:5a

There is a beautiful song that we sang in worship Saturday night titled, For Everyone Born. It is a fairly modern song, with the words written by Shirley Erena Murray in 1998 and the music composed by Brian Mann in 2006.

The song reflects the themes of justice, peace and equality for all God’s children and also has themes that lift up concerns about God’s creation and social responsibility. The song is composed with five verses, all reflecting an image of the table. The first verse reflects the table on which we break bread. The second verse reflects a table of equality; the third verse, a table of acceptance; the fourth verse, a table of reconciliation; and the last verse, a table of dignity.

The song reflects human concerns and God’s care for all people. The words of the song’s refrain say, “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, justice, and joy.”

In talking about writing the words to this song, Shirley Murray said, “I wrote this text in 1998, when I was involved with work for Amnesty International and because I couldn’t find anything to reflect a broad overview of human rights in any hymnbook. I’ve tried to put the words in a context which relates directly to the Gospel, but without excluding those who are not of the Christian faith. What is this table? In my mind it began as the table of the world in the peaceable kingdom, an imaginary place of justice and joy where everyone gathers and is fed. But inevitably it was taken up as a communion hymn, in the context of the Holy Table….And in places where exclusion by the Church is a source of injustice and pain, as with the gay and lesbian communities, it has been used to ask for a place at the table, along with every other believer.”

In this continued season of Lent, may we make room at the table of God’s hope and grace for everyone born.

Peace,
Jenny

For Everyone Born, A Place at the Table
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 over head.

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, justice, and joy.

For woman and man, a place at the table,
revising the roles, deciding to share,
with wisdom and grace, dividing the power,
for woman and man, a system that’s fair.
Refrain

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.
Refrain

For just and unjust, a place at the table.
abuser, abused, with need to forgive,
in anger, in hurt, a mind-set of mercy,
for just and unjust, a new way to live.
Refrain

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.
Refrain

Words: Shirley Erena Murray
Words © 2004 Hope Publishing Company