Before meeting someone, or having that initial encounter I can easily begin assessing them. It's when I stop, listen to their story and see their humanity, walk in their shoes, then I am really able to share the table.
I was thinking about a thought from reader saying how offering hospitality isn't looking the way she had planned it. Isn't that the truth!
We move to a new neighborhood, town, state or even country and realize these "others" don't do life the way we know how to do it. Or sometimes, how we are comfortable with doing it.
Maybe these others don't know how to appreciate good food if it slapped their mouth.
Maybe they couldn't imagine coming into your home and always suggest a restaurant.
Maybe they never go past the surface talk to really get to the knowing in intimacy.
I'm confident we can all come up with stories of why sharing the table with people different from us just might not be "for us." I know I can relate to that.
However, if we can look beyond ourselves and see in those individuals the bearer image of God, we can see what they're worth. We can step in their shoes and see a person who grew up in a home who didn't know how to express their true feelings.
We can see that another believes in the cultures lie that good food & hospitality only comes in the form of fine dining, aka perfection.
We can see that others think our way of cooking is fussy & pretentious, and they're suspicious of newness.
But, they will know we are Christians by our love. We can walk in their shoes, be patient with them, explore with them and extend unconditional love without judgement--that's how we can share the table.
You and I get to walk in the knowledge of image bearers, who never need to coerce or use hostility at our tables. All we are responsible is pulling out a chair and inviting others to sup with us.