Friday, July 25, 2008

Be Present at ‘our’ table Lord!

I recall the daily ritual of singing grace whilst training at the William Booth Memorial College in London. Often, the most obscure tune was selected by the duty sergeant of the day as Cadets struggled to fit the words, ‘Be present at our table Lord’ to such melodies as, ‘Fernando's Hideaway’ or the Scottish tune, ‘A Hundred Pipers’.

What followed, would be a debate as to the original ending of the verse. Was it ‘may live to fight and die for thee’ or ‘feast in paradise with thee,”? It was not until years later that the significance of this verse registered a new meaning for me.
With the break-up of my marriage in the early eighties, the loss of ‘job’ and home forced a complete rethink; how do I fulfil my calling now?

By chance I secured a residential post at the Royal School for the Deaf in Exeter, UK and this became the path of my calling for 7 years combining the role of a House Parent with IT Tutor. My ‘table’ was further enlarged as I moved to St Loye’s College for training people with disabilities, as the Welfare and Admissions officer with chaplaincy responsibilities.
During this time, I continued to soldier at Exeter Temple Corps, and became Bandmaster, even taking the band on a 10-day campaign to Poland, one year before the fall of the iron curtain. Again my table expanded to include a growing number of Christian brothers and sisters of many different traditions and cultures.

Dissatisfaction with the small mindedness and pettiness of internal Army politics that seemed to define an exclusive table, only covered with of yellow, red and blue table-clothes, led me to rethink the context of my calling. Now remarried, we began to explore where we should worship. Where do we go from here, Lord? Looking out from my bedroom window one evening, a faulty flickering light caught my eye. It was the illuminated cross on the local Methodist church. Surely you don’t mean……
The following Sunday we were warmly welcomed into the church and very quickly I found myself involved with the junior church, youth choir and local preaching. It was at one of the Local Preacher’s quarterly meetings that a young circuit minister asked, “Paul, why isn’t your training recognized by the Methodist Church?” In an instant it was as if a lost piece of the jigsaw fell onto my table.

It was 11 years since my SA ministry had concluded, and so I had to candidate all over again. Three years training with the Southwest Ministry Training Course followed, as well as studying for an honours degree in theology at Exeter University.

Methodist Ministers in the UK are ordained at the annual conference, and to my delight and surprise my ordination was to be in Nottingham at the church tracing links back to William Booth. Picture the scene as I entered the church that night with the portraits of Booth and Wesley looking down on me. It was almost like “coming home” and I knew what William must have felt when he said, ‘Kate, I have found my destiny!’

Today I follow a ministry in the Tentmaker tradition. This dual ministry is that of Principal at Oakwood Court College for young people with complex learning disabilities and Minister of three Methodist churches in the Exeter circuit. My table is certainly much larger today than it has ever been.

But what about words that we used to sing at the start of each College meal?

During my studies at Exeter University I discovered that they were written by John Cennick, born into a Quaker family at Reading in 1718. He later became Wesley's first lay preacher and in 1740 became a teacher at Kingswood, Bristol. He also became the first leader of the Methodist Society in Exeter (1741) where he continued to preach in spite of persecution and riots, a fate suffered by Exeter's, and indeed other early day Salvationist.

It was at this time that he wrote the Hymn that we now use as a grace.

The original version from 'Sacred Hymns, for the Children of God in the Days of their Pilgrimage 1741' is: -

Be present at our table, Lord
Be here and everywhere adored.
These mercies bless and grant that we
May live in fellowship with Thee.

This was both a prayer and a polemic statement as gradually Wesley's followers, although of Anglican descent, were excluded from 'table fellowship'; Holy Communion at the Parish churches.

It is worth noting that much of Jesus’ recorded teaching was around a table of fellowship in the homes of followers and sinners alike. The importance of such fellowship has, of course, been recognised through today’s Alpha course.
It was Gustavo Gutierrez, the father of Liberation Theology, who said in his book ‘The Power of the Disciple’. “To be a disciple of Jesus is to make His Messianic practice our own. Our discipleship is our appropriation of His message of life, His love for the poor, His denunciation of injustice, His sharing of bread, His hope for resurrection. The Christian community, the ecclesia, is made up of those who take up that messianic practice of Jesus and use it to create social relationships of a community of brothers and sisters, and thereby accept the gift of being children of the Father.”

O yes! Be present at ‘our’ table Lord. AMEN

Rev’d Paul Collings BTh
Former
Exeter UK

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul, it has been good to read something of your 'story' on this blog. Thank you for sharing. As I read some of your opening comments of your life's experiences I thought 'Yes, some of life's unanswerable's ... how??? why???' some of those possible questions that we will never have answered this side of heaven ... and the older I get the more I think once we get to heaven maybe when we come face to face with our Saviour those answers wont matter anymore.

As I continued to read of how your table has been extended ... your level of influence for the Gospel I was reminded of the prayer of Jabez, a prayer that we have looked at recently again at Exeter Temple and I prayed for you and your family.

'O that you would bless me indeed, enlarge my territory, that your hand would be with me, and that you would keep me from harm.'
1 Chronicles 4: 10

Glad Thompson
Active - Exeter Temple
UKT

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Paul.

It's good that so many are able to share with us their stories of past experiences, followed by their present situation.

It is encouraging that so many formers are continuing to live out God's call upon their life.

Former
UK

Sven Ljungholm said...

Thank you Paul!

It's heartening to see new contributors sharing through this blog. In a few weeks we will have been actively adding the voice of 'formers' through our site for a full year, with other SA websites also serving faithfully. Our blog has been read by more than 5,000 international visitors ranging from those at IHQ to a lone but regular visitor (former?) in Italy to a steady stream of 'actives' and formers in Australia, Canada and the UK.

More articles are needed; Please give thought to writing of and sharing your experience(s). Send them to selmoscow@aol.com .

Blessings, Sven

HS said...

Your comment about the exclusive table with its red, yellow and blue cloths challenges me mightily. Today's worship was a "one service" at the community stadium, 9-10 churches combining for the morning, and it was so good to be with other believers - reminded me of Gowans' line - "and none shall ask what they have been." I'm not sure he meant Presbyterian or Methodist, Brethren or SA. I so want our corps to be a picture of an open table. Thanks for sharing of your ministry.

Paul Collings said...

HS, thank you for your comment. Table fellowship in the broadest sense is so important for me, and although not serving under the yellow, red and blue, there are still strong influences within my ministry. Picture the scene at a methodist communion service in which Orsborn's words are being sung.

My life must be Christ's broken bread, my love his outpoured wine. This is not just powerful imagery, but practical theology in action.

It is part of the reason why my ministry is of the tent-maker variety. This is yet another powerful image of the one who presides at the communion table on the Sunday is also at the "workbench" on the Monday morning in common with the rest of his/her congregation.

I sometimes wonder whether the 'Army' has not missed a mission opportunity of having SA officers within the tent-maker tradition. It certainly also empowers the laity and connects ministers with an enlarged congregation beyond the walls of citadel or chapel. Hmm..., I feel another blog article developing.

Blessings

Paul

Anonymous said...

Good to hear news of you. I remember you leading our Session for united Singing, & at our "1st. Year Lt.'s Refresher Course" Reunion at Sunbury/ITC/Camberwell.
So formal in those days, especially compared to our 20 & 25 year Reunions!
Re the tunes for the Grace - we used to sing it to "Rock Around the Clock" as well.

Best wishes to you in your Ministry.

Margaret Day, Former, UK.

Sven Ljungholm said...

Check out www.revolutionhawaii.com for a recent new expression of an old SA outreach model...

Blessings, Sven

Anonymous said...

A postscript to my earlier comment.
I'd forgotten about the Hundred Pipers, but "Rule Britannia" was even trickier to fit! On a more serious note, our debate (Proclaimers of Salvation & Joyful Evangelists before & God's Soldiers after us) was whether we fight & DIE or fight & WORK. Interesting to know that neither was correct.
Margaret Day, Former, UK.

Anonymous said...

order ambien buy ambien online usa - half life of ambien 10 mg

Anonymous said...

xanax online generic xanax bars no imprint - xanax 620

Anonymous said...

generic for zolpidem zolpidem 10 mg generic for ambien - where can i buy zolpidem tartrate

Anonymous said...

zolpidem online how to buy zolpidem online - what is zolpidem tartrate 10 mg tablet for

Anonymous said...

buy diazepam diazepam 10mg get you high - buy mg diazepam

Anonymous said...

ativan for anxiety ativan mechanism of action - ativan pill

Anonymous said...

generic diazepam buy valium online in australia - 10 mg diazepam green

Anonymous said...

buy diazepam long do effects 5mg diazepam last - diazepam 10mg

Anonymous said...

diazepam no prescription needed diazepam side effects on cats - diazepam 10mg cats

Anonymous said...

ativan lorazepam ativan side effects liver damage - ativan side effects psychosis

Anonymous said...

online xanax xanax dosage get you high - xanax overdose what happens

Anonymous said...

cheap generic ambien zolpidem tart er same ambien cr - generic ambien does it work

Anonymous said...

ambien buy ambien cr picture pill - ambien and alcohol risks

Anonymous said...

valium 10mg order valium online mastercard - provigil valium drug interactions

Anonymous said...

ambien for sale online buy ambien without rx - vomiting ambien withdrawal

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol soma soma intimates coupon code - side effects to carisoprodol

Anonymous said...

soma online legal order soma online - somanabolic muscle maximizer official website

Anonymous said...

buy valium online can buy valium online uk - valium iv

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online buy ambien online no prescription - ambien cr 6.25 generic

Anonymous said...

c4ks84bd http://www.cheapisotretinoinforless.net/#buy-accutane-no-prescription - buy accutane no prescription buy accutane online

Anonymous said...

valium no prescription overnight valium morning after pill - can you buy valium ecuador

Anonymous said...

xn7bl2d5 http://www.cheapisotretinoinforless.net/#cheap-accutane-online - isotretinoin without prescription order accutane

Anonymous said...

xn7bl2d5 http://www.cheapisotretinoinforless.net/#accutane-without-prescription - cheap accutane no prescription cheap accutane online

Anonymous said...

dsc4hd7h http://www.jonathanornstein.com/#order-lexapro - order lexapro order lexapro no prescription

Anonymous said...

There is a very high risk of addiction and dependency with Valium, so only take the recommended dose by your doctor and avoid distributing your medication to anyone else. It is used to help relieve anxiety, spasms in muscles, seizures, and the side effects that are often associated with substance abuse withdrawal. [url=http://www.theottawalife.com/]cheap diazepam[/url] Valium - Anxiety No More Buy cheap Valium Diazepam medication online at one of trusted online pharmacy! Valium for sale.

Anonymous said...

qb74kf95j http://www.ismamerica.com/#acomplia-drug - acomplia drug acomplia for sale

Anonymous said...

It has also been effective in preventing and reducing the growth of polyps in these areas, thereby reducing the possibility of cancer occurring in the large intestines. Celebrex belongs to a group of prescription medications known as NSAID, or prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. http://www.oakleycheapsunglass.com/ - cheap celebrex online buy Celebrex online Working closely with your doctor and strictly following the prescribed doses is key to the success of the treatment program.

Anonymous said...

Order generic Acomplia Rimonabant online without prescription. [url=http://www.bethlehemfirst.com/]rimonabant online[/url] 4. The composition of Acomplia does not have any controlled substance included, which makes it easier to buy in stores or through online without any needed prescription. Purchase Acomplia at low price.

Anonymous said...

Xanax can be addictive and especially when high doses are taken for extended periods of time. http://www.toranrealestate.com/ - buy xanax This medication also passes through breast milk so nursing mothers also should avoid taking Xanax. Any woman taking Xanax who plans on becoming pregnant should notify her doctor immediately. 25, 0.

Anonymous said...

Xanax Extended Release (XR) is available in 0. Xanax - Get Rid Of Anxiety For Good http://www.theglennbeckprogram.com/ - cheap xanax no prescription In the UK, Xanax is recommended for the short-term treatment (2пїЅ4 weeks) of severe acute anxiety. 5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, and 3 mg strength oral.

Anonymous said...

DHT is thought to be responsible for hair loss in men. More serious side effects which may occur include breast lumps, nipple discharge, breast pain, testicular pain and the inability to urinate. http://www.worldlysoles.com/ - buy finasteride online No hard proof exists yet that Propecia causes cancer but any patient who wishes to take this drug should be make aware of the possible risk. Propecia

Anonymous said...

Purchase Klonopin pills at discounted price. [url=http://www.starponyz.com/]klonopin for sale[/url] The side effects that usually subside on their own with continued use include drowsiness, irritability, lack of motivation, loss of libido, dizziness, loss of balance, loss of coordination, and aggression among many others. Generic Klonopin for sale.

Anonymous said...

The Sertraline is the anti-depressant making Zoloft a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). http://www.zoloftbenefits.com/ - buy cheap zoloft The Sertraline is the anti-depressant making Zoloft a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). One of the symptoms of the above problems is the insomnia. Zoloft Online Pharmacy

Anonymous said...

Doctors will only prescribe the drug if they believe it is necessary and that the patient really needs its. http://www.mimmosabq.com/ - cheap modafinil - Easy bruising or bleeding. Provigil online - Hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior.

Anonymous said...

It has a variant called Ambien CR which featuring two layers пїЅ the first one will quickly dissolve and make you fall asleep and the second will dissolve slower and keep you asleep. http://www.mrblowup.com/ - zolpidem 10mg Ambien online Another risk can be short-term forgetfulness, with people forgetting they've driven, eaten or made a phone call.

Anonymous said...

t6m2m6k7 http://www.pegasusweddingreception.com/#carisoprodol-online - carisoprodol online carisoprodol without prescription

Anonymous said...

t6m2m6k7 http://www.ssi4less.com/#plavix-online - plavix online plavix online pharmacy

Anonymous said...

l3m7n8s63h http://www.bestpricediflucanon.net/#generic-fluconazole - generic fluconazole generic fluconazole no prescription

Anonymous said...

Hello, http://www.greenrepublicstores.com/#phentermine-for-sale cheap phentermine no prescription http://www.ativan4sale.com/ativan.html cheap lorazepam

Anonymous said...

Safety Ear Medications buy celexa online no prescription - purchase celexa http://www.bestpricecelexaon.net/#purchase-celexa

Anonymous said...

BaskAwake buy neurontin - buy neurontin online http://www.neurontingenericprice.net/#buy-neurontin-online

Anonymous said...

UnopsAsyncnon alprazolam online no prescription - alprazolam no prescription http://www.xanaxcheaponline.net/#alprazolam-no-prescription

Anonymous said...

Almowlysymn buy generic buspar - cheap buspar http://www.busparspecialoffer.com/

Anonymous said...

Floridaa Drug Laws prednisone online pharmacy - prednisone pills http://www.prednisone4sale.com/#prednisone-pills

Anonymous said...

Solutions Prescription Drug Abuse Athletes buy fluconazole no prescription - cheap diflucan no prescription http://www.diflucansaleonline.net/#cheap-diflucan-no-prescription , [url=http://www.diflucansaleonline.net/#generic-diflucan-no-prescription ]generic diflucan no prescription [/url]

Anonymous said...

Bipolar Medications Treatment lexapro medication - lexapro no prescription http://www.costoflexaproonline.net/#lexapro-no-prescription , [url=http://www.costoflexaproonline.net/#lexapro-online ]lexapro online [/url]

Anonymous said...

tmd cytotec 200 mg - cytotec no prescription http://www.cytoteconlinecheap.net/#generic-cytotec, [url=http://www.cytoteconlinecheap.net/#generic-cytotec]buy cytotec online no prescription [/url]

Anonymous said...

sob gabapentin without rx - neurontin 300mg http://www.neurontinonlinesales.net/#neurontin-300mg , [url=http://www.neurontinonlinesales.net/#generic-gabapentin ]generic gabapentin [/url]

Anonymous said...

egy buy clomiphene online no prescription - buy cheap clomid http://www.costofclomidonline.net/#clomid-for-sale , [url=http://www.costofclomidonline.net/#clomid-cost ]clomid fertility drug [/url]

Anonymous said...

Hello, cheap imitrex - buy sumatriptan online no prescription http://www.buyimitrex365.com/#buy-sumatriptan-online-no-prescription , [url=http://www.buyimitrex365.com/#buy-imitrex-no-prescription ]buy imitrex no prescription [/url]

Anonymous said...

1 generic cymbalta - duloxetine cost http://www.cymbaltabuyonline.net/#generic-cymbalta, [url=http://www.cymbaltabuyonline.net/#generic-cymbalta]generic cymbalta[/url]

Anonymous said...

http://site.ru - [url=http://site.ru]site[/url] site
site

Anonymous said...

3, klonopin for sale - buy clonazepam without prescription http://www.klonopinsaleonline.com/#generic-klonopin-online, [url=http://www.klonopinsaleonline.com/#generic-klonopin-online]buy klonopin[/url]

Anonymous said...

http://www.msn.com/ - [url=http://www.msn.com/]msn[/url] msn
msn

Anonymous said...

oZzy moved away earlier, I miss his cock,
and I'm always hungry for sexual intercourse.
FUCK MY PUSSY!

Feel free to visit my web page ... hcg injections

Anonymous said...

Hello Deаr, are you truly viѕiting this webѕite dailу, if so thеn
you ωill withоut doubt οbtain gοod know-hoω.


my ωеb blog; diet drops yipiz

Anonymous said...

Your wrіtе-up provіdeѕ confirmed useful tо me.
It’s quite informative anԁ yοu're clearly extremely experienced of this type. You possess popped my eyes to numerous opinion of this specific matter along with intriguing and strong articles.

My web-site :: wiki.dbjr.de
Also visit my weblog - phentermine