Fellowship Around the Table

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At the close of the sermon today we were invited to quickly rewrite our version of Acts 2:42-47.  Here was mine.

You mama teach your babes how to use words,

how to say sorry when you shouted.  

The Spirit of God comes while messy floors, tear stained cheeks turn to you and forgiveness is known. 

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You invite people to gather, to share meals.

nothing worthy of food blogs; rather, a King's feast of a casserole.

Because knowing it's in the giving, the sharing, the showing up, the inviting into your mess so the other feels normal.

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You give not out of obligation or duty, but...

because Jesus the great Host first set His Table Inviting you as a guest. 

So what's yours is mine & mine is yours.

You see Jesus in the cranky co-worker to the bully child, it's why we meet together.

Because we know the hope of the final feast,

the garden turned city--

the place where no more tears spill; but...

Jesus our Lord, our Savior, our great papa God redeems the story, our story. 

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How the Hellenistic World & Present Day View the Table

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Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

These words were spoken in a time when the Jewish people were heavily influenced by the Hellenistic culture, which based a lot of importance on hierarchy and stratification within society.  The way the table was set up in that day revolved around the most important to the least important.  Those who could give to those who could not.   

Ben Witherington III in Making a Meal of It mentions how food categories encoded social events through degrees of hierarchy:  

  1. Inclusion
  2. Exclusion
  3. Boundaries
  4. Transactions across boundaries  

               

So what is Jesus saying? 

He rejects the idea of using meals to reinforce reciprocity cycles and suggests meals be more gracious and less self-serving.  Imagine how counter-culture he was in challenging the very idea of what is considered to be 'table fare.'  

I myself was challenged with this concept; because, what would Jesus say to me, to us?  How in our cultural context do we as Christians replicate the cultural norms of hospitality and bread breaking?  

How do we speak into a culture, not tear it down, but be kingdom driven instead?  How do we mirror after the King's Lovefeast?  How do we take what is good while leaving out that which is ostracizing?  

I believe we live in a day and age, where sustainability is good and valued.  How if you can talk the foodie talk, know that lingo, then clearly you are on the "A" list.  We can watch food competitions and see how food has clearly become something of an other thing.  Good food is more about elitism than together.  We are more worried about impressing our dinner guests with perfection than allowing vulnerability to let loose there. 

Jesus is more concerned that walls and boundaries are being set up.  He speaks time and again against human societal constraints, which inhibit someone seeking the Kingdom of God.  In fact, it's what enrages him at the temple.  

What if instead, we always set our table as those the Lord himself were coming?  What if that's what sharing the table looked like?  And then, when we say, "But Lord, when did I feed you?"  He responds, "When you fed that child who hasn't known nourishment in food and heart."  "When you took some of you grocery money to give it to that family who needed to eat."   "When you invited your neighbor over for dinner."

We live in such a time as this, where food is more than plentiful and people are literally & figuratively starving.  Why would we neglect in sharing our tables?  Why do I neglect in sharing my table?   

I leave you with this, 

May the blessing of God rest upon you,  
May his peace abide with you, 
May his presence illuminate your heart
Now and forevermore. 

--Sufi blessing (seventh century) 

 

Don't miss out on the 31 Days to Share the Table series by subscribing to RTT.  Join the RTT Facebook community.  Follow along on Instagram, and share your own pictures by using the hashtag #sharethetable   

Sloppy to Special Needs

Transient

When Jesus called out to his would be disciples, "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men," I often forget the impact this made on themselves or their family. And as I was reading and pondering this text, something more popped out at me.

It was the sloppiness of dropping it all for the sake of following Jesus. There was an abandon that I have rarely encountered. In fact, I couldn't help but think how often I say, "hold on...just a minute." 

These words fall from my mouth to my kids, to Ben and definitely Jesus. The right in front of me seems more safe. The unknown to immerse myself in this spontaneous call to live life like that of a good puddle jump splash seems frivolous. I mean, you're just going to wind up cold & wet.

But, isn't that the case for most life?

I allow far too many distractions, be it the internet or laziness, to get in the way of living life. But, these people we rub shoulders with everyday deserve to be given common courtesies.  No, beyond common courtesies--to be given the best we have to offer.

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I'm a mama to a special needs child. I don't know if I've ever given myself that title here. Being this little girls mama comes with much joy and a lot of mess. Mealtimes in particular.

She is a go big or go home sort of personality. She always has been. The day we were going to go puddle jumping she whined & dragged her heals the whole time. However, once she got there to see the pools upon pools, she found a glimpse of glory.

Sharing the Table is leaving a space for her. It's a daily reminder to me how I need to offer more grace to this little girl of mine who still has trouble with fine motor tasks, which eating with a fork is one if those.

When Jesus says "Come follow me," I imagine him saying this to me:

Leave the full sink to play with your girls outside. Make mealtime pleasant, encouraging new bites and not fretting over new shirts stained, for these little ones are to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. They are your people you are fishing for.  Abandon the precision in accurately cut vegetables, in order to spend more time talking into the puppy phone with Caprice & watching another faux dance recital.  Your table is where I will be, and there is no shame welcome here.


I never imagined I would have a child with special needs, but I know it's God teaching me how to love with a gentle patience that is always welcome.

 

Transient

 

Don't miss out on the 31 Days to Share the Table series by subscribing to RTT.  Join the RTT Facebook community.  Follow along on Instagram, and share your own pictures by using the hashtag #sharethetable