The Four Seasons of the Table
The liturgy of the church is based on the rhythm of the creative life of God. In the major creation stories of the Bible, we see God creating life according to the same rhythm. God Gathers things together, God Proclaims new life, creation Responds to God’s call, God Feeds creation, and then God Sends the new creation to bear fruit in the world.
This is the rhythm of the life of God. This is the rhythm of the liturgy of the church, and this is the rhythm of Common Tables. Each CT seeks to be aware of the season they are in, and align themselves with what God does in that season in order to be in rhythm with the creative work of God. The seasons of the life of a CT are:
The Gathering (≈ 3-4 months)
- Sharing Stories
The Proclamation and Response (≈ 3-4 months)
- What are you hearing from God?
- What are you going to do about it?
The Great Thanksgiving (≈ 2 months)
- Who in your life is missing from the table?
- Inviting new people to the table.
The Sending Forth (≈ 2 months)
- Replicating table life
- Going out 2x2 (sending 2 or 3 people or families together to start new CT's)
- Celebration and Blessing
- Which part of God's creative work is most joyful for you (Gathering, Hearing, Responding, Sharing, Living on Mission)?
- Which part is most difficult for you?
- Share a time that you either experienced life or death because of the presence or absence of one of the steps of God's creative work. (i.e. "I found life in gathering with others...I heard God call me to do..." or, "I experienced death as in the absence of a loved one...I feel like my faith is struggling to thrive because I don't hear from God...")
Part of faithfully gathering together as a Table is to understand what each individual or family is committed to throughout the week. During your second gathering, we encourage Table members to take a large calendar and place sticky notes (see below example) on days when the individual/family has commitments. This practice will help the Table to see days that will not work for regular gathering, will help the individual/family to see where they may be overcommitted, and will help the Table to know more about the things that fill one another’s lives.