Our Sunday sermon series has been touching upon the themes of Gospel Hospitality at the Table: A Journey of Meals in Luke and Acts. We are engaged in this sermon series around the Gospel stories of Jesus at meal times for in the Gospel of Luke because there are so many amazing stories of Jesus going to a meal, Jesus at a meal or Jesus coming from a meal. And in the reading of these stories, we are discovering amazing insights and teachings when Jesus interacts with people at meal times.
The pinnacle dinner table story, of course, is Jesus and his disciples at The Last Supper. All four Gospels writers have included this account in remembering the life and ministry of Jesus. And in Matthew, Mark and Luke, the words and actions of Jesus giving thanks, breaking bread and sharing the cup are recorded. To this day, virtually all Christian churches celebrate Holy Communion or the Eucharist. It is a reminder for believers everywhere that Jesus’ body was broken and his blood shed for the remission of our sins. That is why the communion table is a ubiquitous presence in Christian places of worship world-wide.
Beside its deep spiritual significance, the table has a deep communal implication as well. It not only deepens our relationship with Christ, it deepens our relationship with one another. This idea of the table as a conduit for community translates so beautifully to an activity we participate in at least once a day—our main meal of the day with others. These gatherings at meal times with family, friends, neighbors and strangers alike take on an intentionality, a purpose, and yes even a mystery to it because, we if call ourselves Christ-followers, we live on this side of the resurrection. We live and breathe in a new day and under a different sky. We can “set the table” so to speak, so that in the words of Leonard Sweet, it is a setting “where community is found and identity is formed.” It is a setting where we can easily and readily serve up a bouillabaisse made up of connection, conversation, and conversion (exchange). Around the table, it can be a wonderful conversion of life stories and life experiences.
This Theology of Table has a place in our society today and it is so needed. Despite our penchant for worshiping the idols of busyness, technology, and ideology, Gospel hospitality can be a welcome return what really can be life-giving and life-transforming.
As we round the corner to the month of November, one of our most practiced table event looms before us—Thanksgiving. Though I am aware of the historical baggage that this national holiday presents, I want to reframe this secular holiday to remind us to always give thanks to God for He is good for His love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16: 34).
May this table event wherever you are and whoever you are with, be rich with food, fellowship and faith.
Warmly in Christ,