When Sharing the Table is Hard
I've realized how I can talk about hospitality and like the sound of it. Or how sharing the table is an easy thing. But, if I'm really honest with myself, I find certain parts appealing and the messy parts as inconveniences.
The problem revolves around the brokenness of people. Today I attended a conference, which focused on these ideas of our wounded parts colliding with a bloody cross taking on our brokenness. But, just because we hand over our mess to Jesus, doesn't mean it's all taken, or our lives are somehow magically easier, better, or perfect.
What I was left with today is how hypocritical I am. I can tell a provocative story, or believe in the idea of something; but, when faced with the very present reality of showing love in tangible form--I fail.
Opening up space at my table is easy when it's someone I know, or someone I would like to know. But tonight, I'm left with the wrestling of what this really looks like. Not someone else's idea of what they think my life looks like, or what I think it should look like.
I don't know where you are at. I don't know your complete story. I do know that we all come to the table with baggage. Some of us will never come to the table with quite the right tasting food. Others of us won't be invited. While the other part will be bustling about putting on a facade of sorts.
It's easy to set the table for those who contribute. To say we're throwing a potluck and can everyone bring something to share. It's that idea of Stone Soup, when people really do have a hidden thing to bring for the community. And honestly, I believe this is essential when encountering community.
But, what if the gifts of what others bring are not what I deem "worthy" enough?
Who am I to say what is a contribution and what is not? Yet, i do it all the time. I classify people and categorize based on what they can bring, what I can bring. But you know what I have ultimately found?
I have realized at it's core is I don't believe in a God who is both host and guest. I like the notion of the stories of Jesus eating with sinners; because, who doesn't love a good guy triumphing over the self-righteous & indignant spoiled brats of the day? This causes me to come face to face with the core of me. My want for justice can easily usurp the gentle grace of a Savior who was ransomed for all creation.
What I'm left with is this,
Can I receive his grace? Can I allow him to be the host and me to be the guest? Can I hand him my shame to receive a crown of glory? Can I believe that my self-worth is not dependent upon capabilities or what I can bring to the table?
It's only day five in this journey of sharing the table, and I see God stirring something up in me. I don't want this to be show, or something we put into motion with a formula.
Because sharing the table is reckless. It's unpredictable, uncomfortable and you have to know that you don't know what you're quite getting into. It's inconvenient and altogether poor timing.
Still, at the end of the meal when dishes are being cleaned and tables are being wiped down, I don't think I'll ever regret it and think, "Man, that was a waste of time."
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