And the Table Will Be Wide

The Best Supper
The Best Supper
© Jan L. Richardson

Reading from the Gospels for World Communion Sunday
& Proper 22/Ordinary 27/Pentecost +19, Year B: Mark 10.2-16

“Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
―Mark 10.15-16

And the Table Will Be Wide
A Blessing for World Communion Sunday

And the table
will be wide.
And the welcome
will be wide.
And the arms
will open wide
to gather us in.
And our hearts
will open wide
to receive.

And we will come
as children who trust
there is enough.
And we will come
unhindered and free.
And our aching
will be met
with bread.
And our sorrow
will be met
with wine.

And we will open our hands
to the feast
without shame.
And we will turn
toward each other
without fear.
And we will give up
our appetite
for despair.
And we will taste
and know
of delight.

And we will become bread
for a hungering world.
And we will become drink
for those who thirst.
And the blessed
will become the blessing.
And everywhere
will be the feast.

– Jan Richardson

For a previous reflection on World Communion Sunday, visit The Best Supper, which includes “Table Blessing.” And Happy Feast of St. Francis this week! For a reflection on this beloved saint, whose day is October 4, visit Feast of St. Francis.

Using Jan’s artwork…
To use the image “The Best Supper,” please visit this page at (This is also available as an art print. After clicking over to the image’s page on the Jan Richardson Images site, just scroll down to the “Purchase as an Art Print” section.) Your use of helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!

Using Jan’s words…
For worship services and related settings, you are welcome to use Jan’s blessings or other words from this blog without requesting permission. All that’s needed is to acknowledge the source. Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson.” For other uses, visit Copyright Permissions.

I also want to invite you to visit the Calendar page on my main website, where you’ll find a listing of events that Gary and I will be involved with during the coming months and beyond. We’re excited about connecting with folks at gatherings that will take us across the country and back again, and we’re especially looking forward to collaborating in cyberspace to offer you an online retreat for Advent and Christmas. Wherever you are, we would love to share some sacred space with you!

44 Responses to “And the Table Will Be Wide”

  1. Rev. Cynthia Wood Says:

    I don’t know which I like better-this artwork or poem. Thank you for blessing me with your gifts this Sabbath day.

  2. claire Says:

    So beautiful. Thank you so much!

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Many thanks, Claire! Blessings to you and yours as autumn approaches. I’m grateful for you and your blog.

  3. Emily Says:

    So beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  4. Shawn Redden Says:

    Hello Jan!
    Thank you for your reflection “And the Table will be Wide”. We are bringing to a close a four week series on Hospitality and Community. I would like to use your poem as a responsive reading to close our reflection on Sunday. (with credit to you printed and voiced) if that is ok…. With fond memories of your visit to New Brunswick three years ago!

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Shawn, it’s great to hear from you! Many thanks for your words. I have such good memories of my visit there, and of the hospitality that you and the rest of the community offered! I would be delighted for you to use this as a responsive reading—that’s lovely. Many blessings to you and your community, and thank you again.

  5. Wendy Pratt Says:

    I love this, and with your permission, would like to us it as a litany this Sunday.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thank you, Wendy! I’d be delighted for you to use it. If you use it in printed form, thanks for simply indicating that it’s © Jan Richardson. If it suits you to include my primary website as well (, that would be lovely.

      Many blessings to you and your congregation!

  6. Vivan Martindale Says:

    Wonderful poem. I would also like to use it at the table tomorrow with attribution

  7. Julyan Says:

    Hi, I’d like to use And the Table Will Be Wide at the next communion I lead, if that is alright with you, please. Blessings. Julyan

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Hi, Julyan—thanks for the greetings from Cornwall! Yes, I’d be delighted for you to use this at your next communion. Blessings to you and your congregation.

  8. Carol Pagelsen Says:

    Wendy, where are you? I haven’t heard anything about in years – but I was on the West Coast. I’m retired, but serving as interim associate at FPC in Myrtle Beach, SC I’d love to hear from you.

  9. Barbara E. Ingram Says:

    I thank you for your beautiful artwork and poem. Our church family has adopted the theme, “Acceptance, Help, Hope: God is here for you through us. I would love to share this poem with our congregation.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thank you, Barbara! Very happy for you to share this with your congregation. Many blessings to all of you as you live into the powerful theme that you’ve chosen.

  10. Bonnie Says:

    Thanks for your beautiful words and art. I would also like to use your poem at the conclusion of our reflection on World Wide Communion and before our partaking of bread and cup. I will, of course, reference your website as the source.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thank you, Bonnie! Many blessings to you and your congregation as you celebrate World Communion Sunday tomorrow.

  11. Sharlyn Gates Says:

    Jan, this poem and artwork is so wonderful! I don’t have a way to use the artwork, unfortunately, in worship but would love to use the blessing at the table. Thank you! Sharlyn

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thanks so much, Sharlyn! Very happy for you to use the blessing. Peace to you and yours as you celebrate at the table.

  12. Sara Curley Says:

    Ms. Richardson,

    I am, as I frequently am, hurrying to finish worship preparation for tomorrow’s World Communion Sunday service. I had my bulletin prepared for copy, then logged on to The Text This Week to ensure that I had the scripture selections correct. Despite my hurry, I stopped and read “And the Table Will Be Wide. I would love to use it tomorrow, but know you will not get the request in time. Plus I would not get through it without tears. May I have permission to use it, with credit, next year?

    Thank you so much for your work.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Sara, thanks for your lovely words. I’m delighted you stopped by The Painted Prayerbook! Yes, you’re welcome to use this blessing in worship anytime. I’m always happy for folks to use my blessings in worship, and, for this purpose, it’s not necessary to request permission, provided a credit is given. If it’s used in printed form, I ask that you simply include my name and, if possible, my primary website ( I’m always happy to hear where a blessing is being used, but know that you’re welcome to use this in worship whenever you wish, without needing to wait for permission!

      Thank you again for the gift of your words. I wish you and your congregation many blessings as you celebrate World Communion Sunday.

  13. debora Says:

    What a lovely, lovely poem and piece of artwork! “Give up our appetites for despair…” just beautiful!

  14. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli Says:

    I love this poem so much. Thank you! I used it as the closing of my homily for World Communion Sunday. We include the text of the sermons on our website ( May I post the homily with your words included? Of course, I will credit your name and website(s).

    Blessings on your continued ministry!

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Ginger, thanks very much! I’d be pleased for you to include this when you post your homily. Many blessings to you and the folks of St. Matthew’s!

  15. Nancy Roberts Says:


    Through the years I have been a recipient of your beautiful and profound contemplations of the Word, I think this blessing must be one of the most beautiful and moving. Thank you! May you always be open to the creative gifts you have been given and use so wisely and generously to the joy of so many.

    Tender mercies to you and yours…

  16. donna leavitt Says:

    dear Jan
    I check every day to see if you have written something. I’ve been blessed with your thoughts and words in the beautiful way that you have written from your heart. Thank-you

  17. Margaret Battle Says:

    It is the wee early hours before dawn as I sit in my room at San Pedro while at an intense Audire Retreat on the subjects of abuse and gender matters, somehow the Holy Spirit led me once again to your website. In my struggle to understand why all cannot be accepted for who they are, I study those at your table. How could it be any different at God’s table when we gather in the end? It MUST be inclusive! Yes, even the cat is welcomed. Thank you for my morning prayer, Margaret
    By the way, we are still talking about how wonderfully serene the weekend was when you and Gary blessed us with your gift of presence.

  18. Susan Meadors Says:

    Beautiful poem which I hope to use with your permission on the front of our printed bulletin and have it read by our liturgist during the service. I will give the noted attribution. Your words and your art are so rich and good.

  19. Earl LaLone Says:

    I love the blessing and may use it at the Martinsburg NY UMC thanks so much for following God’s call and sensing the direction you are to lead others. Amen

  20. Susie Webster-Toleno Says:

    I love to read your work every week, and often it informs my words even if I don’t “use” it precisely. This week, though, given your generous offer, I *do* plan to use this poem in worship just prior to celebrating Holy Communion ~ in some responsive form, though I haven’t quite figured it out yet. (What? I have 15 hours to make sense of it!) I know my wee UCC church in Westminster West, VT will really love it, so thanks in advance.

  21. Kimberly Salico-Diehl Says:

    I will be using this in a special Sunday evening service which combines art, poetry and song. Thank you so much–it is beautiful!!!

  22. Says:

    the art work is wonderful. we could not observe WW Communion servise last week but will do so this Sunday. May use this on the cover of our order of worship. God bless you!

  23. Barb Tesorero Says:

    I agree with others – I am not sure which stirs me more – the artwork or the poem – thank you for gifting us with this. I meditated on your poem as part of my preparation for this Sunday’s worship.

  24. Stan Stewart Says:

    Jan – your poem is powerful – it is true – it is what world needs now. It is what the church needs now. I am a Presbyterian minister and with my wife Pauline I co minister a vigorous innovative church and community centre. This year is 100 years since the establishment of our church – we will have many celebrations. In a way or poem encapsulates what we would like to become – a star for our journey. We would like to use it again and again – till our people memorise it – is in their blood. Our church motto is ‘reaching out and welcoming in’. Let me know if there any problems about using your poem as a focus. Thanks Stan Stewart

  25. April Fiet Says:

    Thank you. Your poem and artwork are so beautiful. <3

  26. Leslie Scoopmire Says:

    I am preaching tonight for Maundy Thursday, and will be using this poem, with attribution, of course, in my sermon. Thank you so much for your beautiful words.

  27. jill Says:

    I’m rereading this article a year later–your prayer is in the Washington Post!

  28. Rev. Jesse Says:

    I am so thankful God has prepared everything.

  29. Giselle Lawn Says:

    Hi Jan, I’d like to use And the Table Will Be Wide at the very first communion I will co-lead next Monday, if that is alright with you, please. Blessings. Giselle

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Giselle, thank you! I’d be delighted for you to use “And the Table Will Be Wide.” Many blessings as you prepare to co-lead your first communion!

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