• Charlene Jin Lee

Gifts of the Table


A lone paper palm branch lay on our dining table to lead this holy week that was unlike any other.

The world whirled in crisis. The world wept in mourning. We all wondered when things were going to get better. Every death was too soon. Every grief sudden and profound. Every hope necessary to keep the world pressing against a common threat.

On the dining table lay the Communion elements. A Thursday chapel service with the beloved of the international community streamed live. The Sacraments administered virtually, faithfully.

Cities were drowning in foreboding sirens, breathless and exhausted. From a distant, other cities were quiet, holding on to the fragile mundanity of the days.

A crystal cross, a long-forgotten gift from a devoted nun, stood at the center of the dining table to gather our family of five. Some came complaining, but all were stilled by the gospel’s bodily details of the Cross, by the compassion of the Christ outstretched on Good Friday.

On Easter morning, new life is proclaimed, the risen Christ is rejoiced with a thousand alleluias—over Zoom.

The world continues in strife yet is found pressing on with every hope collected in every heart.

Those whose empty hearts are visited by the resurrected Christ, we testify a hope that survives death; a love that travels beyond death to meet us; a grace that flows into every jagged crevice of our brokenness.

This enduring hope, this abiding love, this healing grace are gifts for all by Christ crucified, Christ risen, and Christ who returns to meet us. We will see Christ in the city, in the upper room. We will see Christ in emergency rooms, in waiting rooms. We will see Christ in sacrificial service, in gentle kindness offered and received—among neighbors, among strangers, among family and friends.

Gathered around many ordinary tables, may we look back on this holy week that was unlike any other and confess with Mary's first proclamation of the resurrected faith, saying to one another, “We have seen the Lord!”

Easter blessings to you and your household.






"Do not be afraid. Go and tell the others to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord!" and she told them that Jesus had said these things to her.

Matthew 29:10, John 20:18



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