From Tabitha to the Tablecloth

She was the reason Peter came to Joppa,
and when he looked back,
he realized that it wasn’t only
so that he could show
Dorcas and her friends she was alive,
but so that he would be.

It was as simple as her two names,
Tabitha for Jewish friends
and Dorcas for her Greek ones,

In a time when Jew stayed with Jew,
Greek with Greek,
Christian with Christian,
and deep between lay fear or prejudice,
envy, condescension, hate.

This one woman welcomed them all,
(wearing herself out doing it),
and it reminded Peter
of someone he once knew,

so, when he had a dream
of a floating tablecloth,
full of everything he called unclean,

he was half-ready for the voice,
telling him to learn to be a guest,

just in time for a knock on the door,
just in time to spread a tablecloth

for Joppa and Jerusalem,
for gay, lesbian, cisgendered, queer,
trans, nonbinary, bisexual,

for those who receive Covid vaccines
and those who do not,
for those called pro-choice
and those called pro-life,
for Republican and Democrat,

and mostly everyone willing to be called
Tabitha and Dorcas …
(or anything but late for dinner)
at God’s table for the world.

Fresco-Catacomb of San Gennaro, Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.
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13 Responses to From Tabitha to the Tablecloth

  1. What a brilliant connection. Thank you so much, Maren.

    • Maren says:

      The connection was made during my sermon about Tabitha … too late to put it in. It was amazing that she is the one with two names where it isn’t an “after” name from a spiritual experience.

  2. Laurie Rowan says:

    Thank you, Maren, for tying these two events together. Tabitha/Dorcas cared for all and Peter’s dream/vision opened the way for everyone to be part of Christianity. It seems that Peter’s dream /vision is so often ignored by many who profess to be Christian..

  3. Rosalie Sugrue says:

    A wonderful weaving of threads and fringes … but we cripples as so often unseen at the gate

  4. Oh yes, love the connection across the stories and into the now. Tears in eyes and laughter in response.

  5. beautiful, such gift I believe this Amen 💙😊( thank you for always sharing your gift of love with us)

  6. Pingback: Sermon: Not What We Expected – Or Wanted | Church of the Holy Cross Sermon: Not What We Expected – Or Wanted | God's still speaking from Hilo

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