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Posted by Lucy Moore on 07 Jan 2009

Again, coming from Elizabeth Caldwell's book Come Unto Me (see blog entry of 05 Jan 09): TABLES are really important in homes. On the Ikea website the slogan for the dining section is 'Eat. Work. Play. Get together.'

And of the seven rooms they feature with dining tables in, only three have plates or food on while the others are shown more as places where knitting, recorder-playing, colouring or book-reading take place. One is definitely a desk. Interesting balance. One of my relations was insistent on buying a kitchen table when her kids were small, as she said they would only ever eat in front of the TV if she didn't make a space for eating 'properly'. I worried on the Messy front that advocating eating together round a table was a terribly middle-class thing to do, but am told wherever I go that it's nothing to do with class - it's about opening up and encouraging a healthy lifestyle that is all about building up family life, encouraging conversation, fun, relationships, good digestion, appreciation of each other and the food in front of us, and, as a very dear vicar was enthusing at the weekend, 'ruthlessly eliminating hurry from your life' - a vital aspect of discipleship, apparently.

Certainly, as we think about suggestions for faith in the home, it's much harder to establish faith habits in a household where there are no ordinary habits - no eating together, reasonably set bedtimes or regularity of any sort. It's this unity of the sacred and the secular again: the holiness of ordinary habits like eating a meal together cannot be underestimated.