By Rev. Lance Henderson, Our Saviour, West Columbia

AssemblyWhen I heard two stories in the same night , I figured it must be one of those Holy Spirit things. At my son’s martial arts school, The Karate Dojo of West Columbia, I first heard Sensei Brian Pena challenging his students to think of ways to help out area flood victims. Later my wife Robin came home from a WELCA meeting and told me that Forest Acres resident and OSLC parishioner Ann Satterwhite reported a need for lawn chairs in the clean-up area. I remembered the hard work of disaster clean-up having helped after a Texas flood destroyed my brother’s house two decades ago. We would work all day, hauling wet drywall and muddy mattresses to the curbside. People would generously bring us food and drink, but there was literally nowhere to sit, except the curb, our vehicle or the ground.

The next day I sat down with Sensei Brian Pena to plan an event–a picnic table building blitz. Both the church and the dojo had gifts to share. The logistics and time frame challenged us, but on Saturday, October 17, the team of 20+ volunteers constructed 15 tables costing about $63 each. Each table was marked with a label emphasizing the important role of a home’s table in the life of a family. The next day we delivered the tables to the Lower Richland Relief Distribution Center to be used in the hard hit South Beltline neighborhood.

Floods are devastating. A picnic table will not bring back your property or compensate for the enormous emotional and financial setbacks a family faces. But in all that chaos, a picnic table can be a place where a family sits together, eats, prays, talks about the future, tells a few stories and maybe has a laugh. Tables are the places where a family gathers together and love happens. But we Lutherans know love happens at the table, don’t we?

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