A Christian Journey
PAUSE for THOUGHT
AROUND the TABLE
Photo of vegetables by Adonyi Gábor at Pxhere
4 January 2023
There are many groups meeting together weekly, monthly and quarterly for a variety of reasons or causes. The variety of reasons seems to be limitless. As human beings, we flourish with contact with our own species. I have a friend who makes quilts, and she belongs to a quilters’ group. She also likes walking and is part of a walking group. I guess many of you reading this belong to at least one group, if not many more.
In the adjacent photo, the ladies around the table are doing craft. They make everything from handy bags, aprons, pot holders, clothes for premature babies, hats for cancer patients, and anything else you can think of. It is quality work.
We meet with our congregations of worshippers on one day in the week to praise God and worship Him, and often we meet the same people in Bible Study groups, planning meetings, choir practices etc. It is a wonderful experience and comfort to know and share with a Church family.
Romans 12:5 (ESV)
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
11 January 2023
On a trip to Turkey, in 2013, our group was taken to the Archaeological Ancient Museum in Antalya Province. This Museum is one of Turkey's largest museums and located in the District of Konyaaltı. It includes 13 exhibition halls, an open-air gallery and 5,000 amazing works of art.
I took this photo while wandering around the various rooms absorbed with the exhibits, which went back over thousands of years. Unfortunately, I did not write down the details of the object in the photo and my efforts to contact the museum by email have not been successful.
If I recall correctly, it is a small finger or foot bone and from a person who was famous at the time. The fact that such a small item is on such a large table speaks to me of its importance.
God commonly uses small things to accomplish His big plans according to His sovereign nature. In the Bible Joseph, Gideon, David and Esther were some of the lowest and least in their families, but they achieved great things.
Galatians 5:22–23a (ESV) reminds us that the little things in life make a big difference:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
18 January 2023
I love to hear the birds, particularly first thing in the morning as I awake. I am most fortunate to have a family of magpies who sit on the fence outside my bedroom window. I talk to them through the window and they stop carolling. After I have finished telling them I can hear them, they commence again.
When I lived in a country area in New South Wales, I was entertained often by the kookaburras. How I love them. I would ring up my friend in Sydney and hold the phone towards a kookaburra who was warbling.
The trees in the front garden would also be filled with rainbow lorikeets. These birds enjoyed the bird table. What a blessing they were.
Birds have a special place in the Bible. A raven was sent out from the Ark to test the level of the water, and the Holy Spirit was in the form of a dove. Chickens, eagles, hawks, quails, peacocks, sparrows and more, all have their story in the Bible.
Exodus 19:4 (ESV)
You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
25 January 2023
The Portuguese love their food. They eat all the time during the day and then sit down to a big meal at the end of the day (and many of them are as thin as a whip). Their foods are mainly fish, and the No. 1 fish is sardines. You can cook sardines at home, but why would you when there are sardine tables and barbecue fires on every street corner during the sardine season.
Being Australian, my only experience of eating sardines was out of a tin and smothered in oil. I did love that and would enjoy it on toast, but the sardines in Portugal would scoff at that. I made the most of the sardine season in Lisbon.
The Bible story of the feeding of the five thousand with fish and bread is thought by some scholars to mean sardines were the offered fish. There is also a red sardine stone spoken of in the Bible. It is often listed with, and likened to, the Israeli jasper.
Leviticus 11:9 (NLT)
Of all the marine animals, these are ones you may use for food. You may eat anything from the water if it has both fins and scales, whether taken from salt water or from streams.
1 February 2023
In January each year the Governor of Victoria usually has an ‘Open House’ event, and my friend and I usually go along. It is a very festive occasion with all kinds of activities in the grounds and a look through the beautiful Government House in Melbourne.
Government House is the official residence of the Governor of Victoria, currently the Honourable Linda Dessau AC CVO, and is located in Kings Domain, Melbourne, next to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Government House was opened in 1876 on land that had originally been set aside in 1841. Its architectural style is Italianate architecture.
The adjacent photo is of the beautifully set dining table ready for an official function. It is magnificent. I think if ever I was invited to such a function, I would be very nervous about which eating utensil to pick up. I understand that the key is to start from the outside and work inwards.
Romans 13:1 (ESV)
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
8 February 2023
In the regional city of Ballarat, Victoria, there is a historical village called Sovereign Hill. This was the scene of the Eureka Stockade rebellion by gold miners in the 1850s.
The Sovereign Hill village depicts Ballarat's first ten years after the discovery of gold there in 1851. It was officially opened on 29 November 1970.
As the main source of transport at the time involved horses, the farrier was in great demand. He had to forge horseshoes and fit them on the horses’ hooves. As Sovereign Hill is a replica village, the adjacent photo shows the farrier at work on his forging table.
Proverbs 16:16 (ESV)
How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
15 February 2023
You may have heard the sayings: ‘Pay on the nail’ or ‘Cash on the nail’. They are extensions of the earlier phrase ‘on the nail’, meaning immediate payment without delay. This expression was first recorded in English in Thomas Nashe's Haue with you to Saffron-Walden, 1596: ‘Tell me, haue you a minde to anie thing in the Doctors Booke! speake the word, and I will help you to it vpon the naile.’
This photo was taken at Bath and the ‘table’ below the sign represents the head of a nail. Although these tables are still around in some form, in old English villages and cities, they are ornamental only.
The sign sitting on the table says that the ‘nail’ has stood on this spot since the previous market existed there in the 1760s. The slate slab on the original stone pillar provides a table that gives plenty of space for concluding transactions.
Romans 13:7 (ESV)
Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honour to whom honour is owed.
22 February 2023
The University of the Third Age, more commonly known as U3A, ‘is an international movement whose aims are the education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community—those in their third "age" of life. There is no universally accepted model for the U3A.’
It was founded in France in 1973 by Professor Pierre Vellas.
‘A British U3A website reports this about “The Third Age” membership eligibility: “U3A membership is not related to a specific age but to a period in one’s life (the third age) after the second age of full-time employment and parental responsibility. Anybody in their third age can join U3A and this includes people who are working part-time. There is no lower age for membership.”’ (Quotes from Wikipedia.)
The ladies in the photograph are having a ‘well-earned’ drink together at a pub in Norfolk, UK, following one of their meetings, and I took their photo.
Colossians 3:16 (NIV) says:
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
1 March 2023
I was visiting Philadelphia in the USA with a cousin of mine. She has had a long friendship with our hosts, and we were taken on several short visits to places of interest. It so happened that we called in to a large shed which was stocked with local produce. As you can see in the photo, it was plentiful and the tables seemed loaded. We only bought a small quantity of needed vegetables but were very impressed by the wonderful array.
I have tried to have a vegetable garden at the many houses in which I have lived. The first time I tried to make a garden was in 1967 during a time of drought. I went off to the local garden centre and bought some tomato plants. I didn’t give a thought to what was an appropriate number of plants so I bought four punnets. In the planting, of course, I discovered that I had 40 tomato plants. I thoughtfully hand watered them every night and killed any weed that grew up between them.
I eventually had buckets and buckets of tomatoes. I made tomato sauce, tomato chutney, green tomato pickle, and tomato relish. I gave everyone within cooee bags of tomatoes. The prominent fruit at the Church Harvest Festival was tomato. Since then, and learning from my experience, I have always had only a tomato plant or two just for my own consumption.
Malachi 3:10 (ESV)
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
8 March 2023
On a visit to Cambodia with my travelling friend, we were interested to look at the workers as they went about their business. There were many little workplaces where men and women were making goods for sale. Jewellers and potters were two of the artisans we saw.
In the photo we can see ceramic artisans at their work tables. Mugs and tumblers, or vases and such like, were being made in this ‘factory’, which had a bamboo roof and open tent so that people could see the products and order their requirements.
King Hiram received a letter from King Solomon asking for assistance in a building matter. King Hiram replied, saying that he would send a skilful master craftsman named Hiram-abi (or Huram).
The following verse shows what a specialist Hiram-abi was:
2 Chronicles 2:14 (ISV)
He is the son of a mother from the tribe of Dan, and his father is from Tyre. He's skilled in working with gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and timber, as well as in purple, blue, linen, and crimson materials. He is skilled in engravings, and can craft any design to which he may be assigned. He will work with your skilled artisans and with all of your craftsmen who have been assigned by my lord David, your father.
15 March 2023
Chile was an interesting place to make a quick visit. My friend and I only had a short time to visit, but we had a mutual friend to stay with, and she was able to secure a worker to drive us around and see some of the sights. Sights that we may not have been able to see if we had gone with a scheduled tour company.
The seals we see in the photo are on what is not strictly a table, but what I see as a resting table, and they are basking contentedly in the sun. Their scientific name is Pinnipedia or Pinnipeds. There are all kinds of seals such as sea lions, earless seals, eared seals, walruses etc. These seals were quite content to slumber with market goers wandering around their table bed.
Right from the beginning, in Genesis 1:22 (ESV), God blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
And two more verses from the Psalms:
Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps; Psalm 148:7 (GNT)
Let heaven and earth praise Him,
The seas and everything that moves in them. Psalm 69:34 (NKJV)
22 March 2023
The special furniture found in churches has distinctive meanings: pulpit, sanctuary chair, confessional, altar, baptismal font, prie dieu, and sacristy and sanctuary furniture. One of the distinctive pieces of furniture in most Salvation Army churches is the ‘Holiness Table’.
In many cases, it is a solid wooden table, unadorned, fairly plain and in some cases has the inscription: ‘Holiness Unto the Lord’. At other places, it may have a maroon cloth with a gold fringe around it. When a person wants to commit their life to God as a Christian consecrated to God’s service, they are invited to come and kneel at the Holiness Table as an outward sign of an inward decision.
Whatever the table or furniture with special meaning at your church, it all has a sacred meaning and should be treated with reverence and respect.
Romans 6:19 (GNB)
At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes. In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes.
29 March 2023
The use of gold to paint fine lines for decoration in furniture or some special article requires steadiness of hand and eye coordination, as the gold is very expensive and cannot be wasted.
The man in the photo has been on the factory floor, in China, all day painting the decoration on the three-corner side tables lined up for his steady hand and eye. I stood and watched him for some time and asked if I could take his picture. He was a bit shy, but we can see his workmanship.
Australia has, and has had, many places where gold has been found. I was born in Ballarat and then we moved to Kalgoorlie, and later on I lived and worked in Bendigo – all important places in gold discovery in Australia.
In the Old Testament, as now, gold was a precious element and was often used on sacred occasions.
Exodus 28:36–38 (GNB)
“Make an ornament of pure gold and engrave on it ‘Dedicated to the Lord’. Tie it to the front of the turban with a blue cord. Aaron is to wear it on his forehead, so that I, the Lord, will accept all the offerings that the Israelites dedicate to me, even if the people commit some error in offering them.”
5 April 2023
A small group of women, who had been attending a larger conference in Bangkok, were scheduled to attend Sunday worship at a Thai church in the suburbs of Bangkok. It was a communion service, and we were so happy to join in worship with the local congregation.
Following the service, the women’s group from the church entertained us to lunch and a chin wag together. It was lovely to share together our ideas and faith journeys. A very big thank you to the members of that church for the spiritual and fraternal experience on that Sunday.
Later in the afternoon, my friend and I went to the city and found some vanilla charcoal ice cream to eat, before returning to our hotel. It was a lovely day of worship, fellowship and black ice cream.
Matthew 8:20 (NIV)
‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’
P.S. The secret behind the black colour is to add a little bit of activated edible charcoal made from charred coconuts!
12 April 2023
The ‘Vindaloo against Violence’ campaign in 2010 was the inspiration of Melburnian woman Mia Northrop, who encouraged people to show support against the verbal and physical racist abuse of the Indian and migrant communities in Australia.
The event took place on 24 February 2010, and thousands of Australians took part with people eating out at their local Indian restaurants to show their support. It was reported as far away as the BBC in London, and people around the world said they would show their support by dining on Indian food in their cities.
Isaiah 53 looks ahead to the future verbal and physical abuse of Jesus:
We despised him and rejected him; he endured suffering and pain. No one would even look at him – we ignored him as if he were nothing. Verse 3 (GNB)
Verse 7 says, ‘He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly, he never said a word’.
Read the whole of Chapter 53 for the full story.
19 April 2023
Whilst I was living in Taree, NSW, there was a top-heavy age group in our church – lots of older folks and not many young people. The answer to this was the ‘80+ Club’.
It was an exclusive club for those members at the age of 80 and over. There was a badge and a commitment to pray for the young folk in the town and the church. The congregation embraced the concept, and the elders became respected and looked up to.
As part of the arrangement, we decided to get details from each member and collect the data in book form so that we knew their favourite portion or verse of scripture, their favourite hymn, what they once did for their employment and other such details. Each person had an A4-page bio with these details included.
On a day when it had all been printed and collated, we had a Sunday party launch together around the table and each one received a book. What a wonderful group of praying people, and the congregation was so proud of their elders.
Leviticus 19:32 (ESV)
You shall stand up before the grey head and honour the face of an old man [woman], and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
26 April 2023
This trestle table is groaning with knitted goods of all descriptions. It is the product of church goers from the Wayland area in Norfolk, United Kingdom. They have this display every year or so, and it is fascinating.
How many times have you been in a church hall with a trestle table groaning with party food or hot main dishes? Because we live in a land which has so much agriculture with wheat fields, sugar plantations, pineapple plantations, fruit trees of all kinds, and dairy and vegetables in abundance, we tend to take it for granted that everyone has these supplies to draw on.
We sometimes hear how lands which have endured drought and floods, and do not have a good soil mixture, cannot meet the needs of their population. It makes us stop to think how much food we waste, how much food we can grow, how much food we can buy in our own country.
We cannot eat the produce on these Wayland tables, but we can enjoy the creativity of reminding us to be careful with what is available to us.
John 6:35 (NIV)
Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’
3 May 2023
You may wonder what this lady is doing on her computer. No, she is not catching up on her emails; she is at the Los Angeles airport ordering her meal.
I found it difficult there to find a menu or café to purchase something to eat until after I had walked around for quite some time looking. I found out that you sit at this long table and order online, and the café/restaurant delivers the food to you at the table.
I guess that sounds simple if you know from the start that this is the scheme of things, but I found it unsatisfactory.
Having been through many airports and tasted food from the very good to the very ordinary, I am reminded of the cute airport buildings at Maasai Mara. Although we were not eating there, the ‘Duty Free’ wooden shed brought a smile.
Matthew 6:25–26 (ESV)
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
10 May 2023
The seated man in our picture is making sandals from old car tyres in Cambodia. He is putting to use his skills to make a new thing from an old thing, a useless thing.
You may ask me: “Where is the table?”
Well, if you look carefully, he has a low worktable, and he is using a wooden box on legs as his table for his morning and afternoon tea arrangements. The vacuum flask beside cups and saucers that are neatly stacked on a tray, on top of the box.
Apart from sandals, there are a few things that you can do to put old tyres to good use.
Another example is to cut old tyres in half to form edging to a garden plot – for good measure you can even paint the tyres!
1 Peter 4:10 (GNT)
Each one, as a good manager of God’s different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God.
17 May 2023
There are hundreds of eating places in New York City. There are high-end establishments with fancy food, there are the worldwide fast-food outlets, and there are all kinds of food carts and footpath dining tables.
One thing Australians have taken upon themselves in recent years is to eat similar food, a little too often. The size of the helping in some places is something to blow the mind, both here in Australia and in the US. This has led to added inches/centimetres around our waistlines.
It was lunch time as I was wandering around New York, and so I thought I would have a corned beef sandwich at a kerbside table and, in the photo, you can see what was brought to me. There was no way I was going to eat all of that. I took this photo to remind myself of indulgence and waste.
John 6:27 (NIV)
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.
24 May 2023
All over the world you will find a board table of some sort or another. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the meaning is: ‘Table where council is held’.
Sometimes it is just a wooden box turned over, other times it is a huge mahogany table in corporate life. Why is it called a ‘Boardroom’ or ‘Board of Directors’? Why ‘Board’?
In the 16th century, the ‘board’ (as in a piece of wood) was the name of the table at which a council met, and it also came to signify the meeting of such a council around this table.
My boss and his wife came from England to Lisbon to meet our leaders and where better to do this than around the Board Table, in the Board Room. Fortunately, the result of this Board Room table encounter was positive, and we were complimented on our work.
1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV):
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
31 May 2023
Sometimes, ACW members are invited to meetings or functions where our organisation is not well known. As a result, we arm ourselves with banners and material that promotes our projects, and we also distribute information leaflets.
In the photo below, the current President of the Victorian Unit of ACW, Major Elaine Johnson, is standing at our promotion table. One of our banners is explaining who we are and what we stand for. The other is our lovely unit banner, which was made for us by one of our past members. She used her talents to make this item, and it has been in use now for many years.
Psalm 20:5 (ESV)
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!