The Steward of the Underside of the Table

there is nothing for me
outside of You.

this is the only thing i know.

and when i have lost sight of You
the one place i know i can find You is here.
at the Table.

i do not know what it means to be called here.
i know what it means to be drawn here,
to be sustained by grain
to be refreshed by grapes
for i am sick with love;
to run towards the Table
in this desperate need to taste You;
to wander the streets looking for You
until i finally find You here
where i see You with my eyes
and taste You on my lips
and feel You in my mouth.
(hem me in, behind and before)

but i do not know what it means to be called here.
i do not stand on ceremony:
i love the trappings, the robes and stoles and collars
but let’s not kid ourselves — we have no authority here.
this Table is not ours, it is Yours.
if we are anything, we are stewards.

and i?
i am perennially a child here
taking bites that are too big for me to handle
sneaking second helpings
crawling underneath the Table
and wrapping myself around its legs
or staring up at its underbelly
to see it
to see You
in a new way
to see the parts of the Table
that others don’t think about.

maybe,
if we are the stewards
i am here to be the steward of the Underside of the Table.
that mischievous little kid
who says, “come here! look at this! you won’t believe it!”
as we all crowd together,
limbs sticking out awkwardly from under the Table
as You join us
and laugh with us
and share a feast with us.

Slats Toole (they/them/theirs), author of “Queering Lent,” is a writer, musician, preacher and activist whose poetry has been published in Call to Worship and Sacramental Life.

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