A Bigger Table

John Pavlovitz

I was by my mother’s side when she breathed her last breath four and a half years ago and at that time, I experienced God’s love as never before. Known in Judaism as the shekinah glory, I experienced the divine presence of God. I felt Light and Love pouring in and flowing out of every cell of my physical form and being. The clarity I sensed in my spirit and soul was like seeing through and being immersed in bright, crystal clear, shining, sparkling water; absolutely clean and perfectly pure. The juxtaposition between the two extremes of brilliant luminosity and deep grief for my mother was incredibly intense. While my grieving continued the acute glow gradually faded over time.

I share the above experience in my recommendation of John Pavlovitz’s book, A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community, because reading his book validates the “spiritual deconstruction” I underwent in the wake of my mother’s death. Consequently, I dug a very deep well to find answers about issues for which I had previously accepted the status quo. My focus changed from judging that which I thought was sin to a desire to meet “the needs that prevent people from knowing their belovedness.” What could be more important?