Here at this Table

August 17, 2022 - 11:21am
Hymn Stories
Hymn Stories

HERE AT THIS TABLE    

Janèt Sullivan Whitaker

Our Communion hymn today is “Here at this Table”. This hymn was written by Hayward resident and local pastoral musician Janèt Sullivan Whitaker (former Director of Music at All Saints in Hayward, Corpus Christi in Piedmont and St. Joan of Arc in San Ramon). Janèt recently retired from full time ministry, continuing to work as a composer and recording artist. She also presents workshops and retreats to help those who serve in parish music ministry, including cantors, choral directors, choirs for all ages, Catholic school music programs, accompanists and more.

She tells the humorous story of how her then 6-year old son, Max, gets a writing credit for this song: “The refrain for the song was sung spontaneously by Max on his way to the breakfast table. His original text was decidedly secular: ‘Eat and be filled/come and have French toast/warm with melted butter/and powdered sugar, too...’ Then he stopped! I so wanted him to go on, but by then he was too embarrassed—and hungry… I like the fact that ‘Here at this Table’ was born in an ordinary family moment, at our family breakfast table. It can be a cluttered and crowded place, this table, and a myriad of life-events unfold here without much to-do. But isn’t it also here that all the really important things happen? Not unlike the table of the Lord, around which we gather to be filled, and to become ourselves the living Body of Christ.” It’s not such a leap from Max’s words to the final version of the refrain.

Themes of social justice appear in the verses – speaking of all who are called to the table of the Lord – those who labor in the Lord’s vineyard, those who struggle and are in pain, children and those who have lived inspirational lives full of faith. Then we are reminded in the final verse that there is more that unites us a faithful Catholics than divides us. “For we are one, blest with the Spirit and the power of love!”

 

Here at This Table

Janèt Sullivan Whitaker / Max Whitaker

 

Refrain

Come and be filled here at this table.

Food for all who hunger

and drink for all who thirst.

Drink of his love, wine of salvation.

You shall live forever in Jesus Christ the Lord.

 

1. You who labor for justice,

you who labor for peace,

you who steady the plow

in the field of the Lord,

 

2. You with lives full of pain,

you who sorrow and weep,

you, beloved of Christ,

come to him, come to him!

 

3. Children of ev'ry color

in ev'ry land,

you are his own,

he gathers you gently.

Don't you grow weary,

for when you run,

you run with the Lord!

 

4. You, the aged among us,

holy, faithful and wise,

may the wisdom you share

form our lives and our world!

 

5. Let each woman and man

learn from the stranger;

we're not so diff'rent

and so much unites us.

For we are one,

blest with the Spirit

and the power of love!

 

© 1996, 2000, Janèt Sullivan Whitaker and James Maxwell Whitaker. Published by

OCP. All rights reserved.

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