The Amish culture has a tradition called “Rumspringa.” Rumspringa is the period in which a sixteen year old is free to leave their perish, explore the world, and decide whether they want to fully commit to the church and the Amish family. What is interesting is what happens during dinner time while the teenager is away. During dinner time, the family would still put out a dinner plate for the “lost child” as a prophecy that their son or daughter would end up coming up home to that table and that exact seat. In fact, some families will even serve a hot plate to the empty seat and then throw it away afterward. What an incredible image this is! This sent a clear message that even though the child was away, he or she will always have a place at the table.
The dinner table represents where life, growth, and relationship happen. The Amish table clearly sends a message that there is someone missing from their table and they are not giving up on the one that is missing. What message does your table send? Is your table all about you? Does your table have room for those that are missing? Does your life have the margin for those that are searching?
I pray that followers of Christ will always have a place at the table for those that are far from God and that our city would know that our table is incomplete without them.