Now that might seem a strange question, but consider for a moment the significance of that particular armchair, the one that beckons you to sit, sip, and ponder. Or the desk in the corner, with the lamp atop—a special spot to craft creativity. And your bed, the harbour of all things restful, and a shelter from the storm. These small spaces, however simple, create places that centre and shape us, arrange and restore us. They provide a little of the architecture of home.
I know in our house there are two pieces of furniture (well three really, but I’ll come to that) that form something of a sacred centre. Firstly, pictured above, is our dinner table—fairly unspectacular, but certainly solid. This is the humming hub of our home. It is the venue of food, fights, and fellowship. We purchased it while in Wellington off TradeMe (of course), and it just so happened that the seller lived a few doors up, so we could walk it home. It was covered in an ugly formica that Bridget, my wife, peeled off, along with the stubborn glue, to reveal the wood below. The table has travelled to a number of new homes and to a new city with us, following the contours of our calling. It has played faithful host to many a meal, welcomed numerous guests, and witnessed countless debates. And so it holds the memories of the hospitality that Jesus has invited us to join him in.
Our household often expands (thirteen was the largest number this year): young adults, foster kids, various visitors, and so the table has required an extension (the aforementioned third piece of furniture!). It’s another TradeMe purchase—smaller, fold out, just right to grow with the grace Jesus invites us to. Our dinner table is certainly that—the growth of grace in our midst.
But this table wouldn’t work work without another, about three metres away in the lounge: our prayer table.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was just a regular coffee table, which is how it spends most of its life. But every weekday morning around 7am (and some evenings), the table-top comes off and, sitting below, nestled in its heart, is our prayer space—a beautiful liturgical calendar fashioned from two large chunks of pine. It was a gift from two community friends a few years back. We couldn’t find a suitable place for it until Bridget had the brilliant idea of setting it inside the coffee table.