I have not ever thought of the table (the Lord’s Supper or communion) as a scandalous place. A reverent place, yes. A place of great mystery, for sure. As I consider it now, I realize I’ve even thought of communion as a bit tame. Everyone lines up neatly, and quietly waits to receive. Or, we silently and politely pass bread and wine down rows of well-mannered, good-intentioned church people.
But, last night, Jonathan Martin reminded us that Jesus was constantly getting in trouble for eating and drinking with the “wrong” people – tax collectors and sinners. Just look at Luke 5:27-32. There was nothing neat or tame about his table. He invited everyone, anyone. All were welcome. At the Last Supper, the one that inaugurated our practice of communion, Judas, who would betray Jesus, sat at the table. Peter, who would deny Jesus, sat at the table. The remaining 10 apostles, who would each abandon Jesus, sat at his table. Everyone is welcome at Jesus’ table.
You can listen to Jonathan’s full message here or by subscribing to our podcast.
More than anything, Jonathan’s message got me thinking about what a scandal it is that I am invited to Jesus’ table. Really. Sometimes it is all I can do to even hold my hands out to receive the bread not only because of things in my past that still haunt me, but also because of things I thought or did just hours before stepping into the Chapel. I am utterly unworthy. It is shocking, scandalous that I am invited and welcome. I come to the table humbly and hungry, though, and when I do, I am overwhelmed by God’s grace and the mystery of Christ’s presence. It makes me long for God to expand my heart and give me courage to open my table to the “wrong” people, people who don’t receive invites, are seen as unclean, or are deemed unworthy.
Would you join me this week in identifying the person or group of people you have consciously or subconsciously deemed unwelcome at your table? And once you’ve identified that person or group of people, would you invite them into a conversation or to have a meal?
May you hear the invitation of our Lord Jesus that you are invited to and welcome at his table. And may you practice the scandal of Jesus’ table, inviting and welcoming the wrong people to your table.
Grace and peace,