Table Set For You

Welcome to the table! It looks delicious. All set up for you at St. John the Divine. The sign encourages you to “Please Enter, Sit & Touch.”

“Really?” I hung back. I was the only one in this little chapel. Should I really sit at the table? It looked nice, well lit, sounds of dishes clattering and conversation. I was a little hungry. The food was spread on the table. I was thinking this must be some kind of Judy Chicago-inspired womanist art piece. 

So I sat. And pretty quickly noticed that the meal shifted and floated in front of me. The meal on my plate was just a projection on the table.

So cool! I was on a quick lunch break. I had to return some overdue library books (“Happy At Last: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Finding Joy.” Really good!)

I love the Poets’ Corner of St. John the Divine. I had rushed in on my lunch break, sandwiched between two meetings, to experience the beauty of the words etched into the floor.  I LOVE Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’ and wanted a quick moment of peace to reflect on the quote you can find there:

“I stop somewhere waiting for you.” (Is that not breathtaking!)

But I couldn’t find the Poets’ Corner, haven’t been there in a year. Instead I stumbled upon this table — Terry Flaxton’s “In Other People’s Skin,” multimedia art thingy.

As I was leaving the table in the chapel, amused and lighter, I encouraged a couple of young blonde tourists, (German or Scandinavian maybe?) to “please enter, sit & touch.” They looked confused. I pointed to the sign. They still hung back, like I had done.

The space at the cathedral is vast, echo-ey, inspiring. As a rule, churches don’t usually encourage touching and fully participating. Experiencing a church is usually a spectator sport.

But this table, at St. John’s, although it is unreal, is set up for you. It is cozy and warm. Well worth it.

I had been reluctant to fully experience the table. But when I did sit, I sat at the head of the table. Trust is difficult. But ultimately rewarding.

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