Related Posts

An Invitation to the Table

Sudie Niesen Thompson

Sudie Niesen Thompson is the associate pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware, and served as the liturgist at the 2022 Presbyterian Association of Musicians Worship & Music Conference.

Spoken from the table in Anderson Auditorium at Wednesday’s worship service, Presbyterian Association of Musicians Worship & Music Conference, 2022

The One who leads us beside still waters
and shepherds us through shadowed valleys
has brought us to the table of grace.
Look—in the eating place, there is manna from heaven;
in the drinking place—an overflowing cup!
Look—the table is set, your place is prepared;
our host welcomes us into the house of the Lord.

So—whether you feel at home in God’s house,
or you are a stranger passing by—
come; there is a place prepared for you.

Whether you gather among friends,
or find yourself surrounded by faces unknown—
come, there is a place prepared for you.

If you—like the wilderness wanderers—know hunger and thirst;
if you—like travelers on the Emmaus road—know heartache and longing;
if you—like the pilgrims of ages past—seek the presence of our Lord—
come. Take your place. Breathe in the peace of this moment.
Taste and see the grace eternal; taste and see that God is good.


  1. Wendell Berry, “Like the Water,” Famous Poets and Poems website, accessed April 29, 2022,
  2. James Donovan, Catechism of the Council of Trent (Dublin: Duffy, 1829), 100.
  3. “Baptism and Reaffirmation,” in Book of Common Worship (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2018), 403.
  4. John Ylvisaker, “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry,” Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2013), 488.
  5. Berry, “Like the Water,”
  6. Julia Esquivel, “I Am Not Afraid of Death,” in Threatened with Resurrection: Prayers and Poems from an Exiled Guatemalan (Elgin, IL: Brethren Press, 1994), 67.
  7. “The Baptismal Covenant I,” Book of Worship, accessed April 29, 2022,
  8. Book of Common Worship, 409.
  9. “Wade in the Water,” Spotify, track 3 on The Blind Boys of Alabama, Higher Ground, Omnivore Recordings, 2002.
  10. “The Afterlife,” Spotify, track 2 on Paul Simon, So Beautiful or So What, Legacy Recordings, 2011.
  11. “PBS Newshour Classroom,” PBS (Public Broadcasting Service, March 30, 2022), last modified March 30, 2022, accessed April 13, 2022,
  12. Mike Ferguson, “A New Suit and an Act of Contrition,” Presbyterian Mission Agency, last modified February 25, 2019, accessed April 22, 2022,


Why Baptism Matters for the Work of Dismantling Racism

Why Baptism Matters for the Work of Dismantling Racism

Perhaps my favorite definition of the word sacrament is “the visible sign of an invisible grace.” Coined during the Council of Trent by Augustine of Hippo, the North African theologian on whose theology much of Western Christianity laid its foundations, it remains one of the most used definitions in both the Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant traditions.

read more
Why Baptism Matters for the Work of Dismantling Racism

Holy Envy

I was baptized on June 28, 1992, by the people of First Presbyterian Church of Dalton, Georgia. Rev. Jim Holderness, whom I would later remember as the kind man who would embrace me in his arms each Sunday and tell me I was loved, presided. I was four at the time, so I depend on others for the details. I’m told it was a sunny day and a bit cool for that time of year.

read more