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Pastor column: The Longer Table, a reflection

Larry Szyman

I have had the good fortune to call Hudson my home for 27 years. Carol and I raised three boys who became men and are contributors in their new locations of Minneapolis, Boston and Flagstaff. We are extremely grateful for the army of people who invested in my family and helped us prepare our sons for meaningful lives that they lead in settings very different from the one they grew up in. We hope that our contribution in others who move on would be seen as helpful to them as well.

On Sunday, Aug. 5 I was an eager participant in the Longer Table event that took place at

Lakefront Park. Over 300 people came to this event which was a celebration of Hudson's community spirit, big enough to welcome and include all. The longer table represented one of our culture's key places of welcome, sharing a meal together. It was a great event as I saw people I hadn't seen in years and met a few new people in a life-giving atmosphere.

My plan (God willing), is that whatever years I have left will be spent in Hudson. It so welcomed

my young family in 1991 and I hope to offer the same to whomever calls Hudson home in the

future. It's not only a matter of basic kindness, but tied into what Christ identified as part of the greatest commandment to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves."

As a follower of Jesus I want to offer the following to anyone who call Hudson home. A place to

live without fear for one's safety. Excellent schools (which we have) that help parents equip the next generation not merely for contribution to the economy, but the well-being of all. Businesses that bring value to the community and create jobs that help employees flourish. A sense that if you ever move from Hudson, you will celebrate whatever season you had nestled alongside the St. Croix.

The longer table reminds me of another table that I find central to my identity and reminds me that I am not better than anyone else: that as an object of grace I am given the privilege to share my life and resources with others. I have experienced this table in Hudson, in various places throughout the Twin Cities, through four years in San Francisco, and in a number of other countries and other places too numerous to mention. This longest table is the communion table where I regularly identify with the Jesus who identified with me. At this table we are reminded Jesus laid down His life to offer a welcome. This table is offered as a touchstone for whoever will come with the promise that He will never cast those who come to Him aside.

I want that table, that other welcoming, self-denying love to be reflected in all of Hudson; this place I call home, this place I love. May tables in homes open up throughout the Valley for our

common good and flourishing, and let me remind you that the longest table is open for all who

would come.