Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Table

Winter was late this year, but somehow it still caught me by surprise. I woke up one morning to see the little table and chairs on our deck covered in snow.

I went to sleep that night thinking about all the different kinds of tables and all the stories they tell:
The tables where new love was discovered, seasoned love celebrated, and old love was rekindled.
Tables where families gathered and tables where divorce papers were signed.
Hands held across tables in love, excitement, encouragement, comfort.
Tables set for parties, tables set for Bible studies, tables set for business meetings.
Wooden tables, glass tables, polished tables, chipped tables.
Thanksgiving tables, Christmas tables, Sunday dinner tables.
Tables set by moms, by grandmothers, by new brides, by children doing chores, by waiters.
Tables set by God.
God’s table is the full one, the good one. It’s the one with more than enough. It’s the one where families unite and reunite. It’s the one where fathers teach their sons wisdom. It’s the one set for birthday parties and wedding feasts.
And you get to sit there…if you want to.
Jesus made an open invitation and you don’t have to have the right clothes, the right address or the right last name to get a seat here. It’s all about the invitation, and you’ve already got that. No one is homeless, hungry, or left out at God’s table. No one is rejected, outcast or oppressed here. There is a place for anyone who will come.
In a matter of hours I will set a Thanksgiving table for my family. We’ll sit down and fill up – on food and on gratitude. I’m so thankful for a place at the table.
From Psalm 22 (The Message):
Here’s the story I’ll tell my friends when they come to worship,
and punctuate it with Hallelujahs:
Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers;
give glory, you sons of Jacob;
adore him, you daughters of Israel.
He has never let you down,
never looked the other way
when you were being kicked around.
He has never wandered off to do his own thing;
he has been right there, listening.
Here in this great gathering for worship
I have discovered this praise-life.
And I’ll do what I promised right here
in front of the God-worshipers.
Down-and-outers sit at God’s table
and eat their fill.
Everyone on the hunt for God
is here, praising him.
“Live it up, from head to toe.
Don’t ever quit!”
From the four corners of the earth
people are coming to their senses,
are running back to God.
Long-lost families
are falling on their faces before him.
God has taken charge;
from now on he has the last word.
All the power-mongers are before him
All the poor and powerless, too
Along with those who never got it together
Our children and their children
will get in on this
As the word is passed along
from parent to child.
Babies not yet conceived
will hear the good news—
that God does what he says.
Ambushed by God with an invitation to sit at the table,