I’ve been waiting for this book ever since Today is a Baptism Day was released two years ago. Anna V. Ostenso Moore (author) and Peter Krueger (illustrator) have given young and old another gift with We Gather at This Table. With a gentle voice Anna shares how important it is for all ages to come together for the sharing of sacred stories, prayer, song, and fellowship. And during this time of being physically distant from each other, this book is especially touching as we recall how we can still find Jesus’ presence among us when we gather with those in our “safe circle” to share meals and tell stories of Jesus.
When I shared this picture with my five-year-old granddaughter, she said, “That’s church!” She recognized the image of a priest breaking bread at the altar surrounded by children (having been one of those children who got so very, very close to the bread and wine at God’s table months ago). While we cannot go into our church buildings, we can share the images of this book and remember (anamnesis) that Jesus is present with us even as we shelter at home.
And if you look very carefully, you will notice that the family featured in Peter’s illustrations in Today is a Baptism Day continue to gather with friends for the sharing of meals. The little girl is no longer a baby, but a child continuing her participation in a faith community with her two dads and friends.
Amidst the stories of today’s people gathered at God’s table, we also are reminded of the stories that Jesus told and the miracles Jesus performed. Alternating between Jesus’ actions and words are our actions and words Anna and Peter share how we, too, can be fed in holy moments to share the love of God in the world.
On one page we see children “playing Eucharist” at home with dolls and stuffed animals. How many of your children have also done this? I recall my son (perhaps 3?) playing with a box of styrofoam peanuts, lifting each one-by-one over his head as he broke them and said, “The Body of Christ.”
As we await the time when we can gather together in person around God’s table, we can gather around Anna’s new book and remember. As Anna writes in her note at the end of the book:
This book was written to provide a tool for families to explore what sharing the bread and wine means for them and how it inspires their lives. Children have a concept of God and a sense of the Holy that changes as they age. They naturally embrace awe, wonder, and mystery. Children give us adults the gift of renewing our own imagination and sense of mystery that can dull over the years. We need to respect their experiences while helping them find vocabulary and practices to sense, name, question, and wonder about God.
You can order this book from Church Publishing Incorporated, Amazon, or your favorite bookseller. Today (May 27, 2020) is the day it releases from Amazon – so please write a review there or on Goodreads!