Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 1, 2013
God’s big-enough table
As he sat at the table of the Pharisee who had him over for dinner, Jesus acted a little like “Mrs. Manners,” by outlining the rules of a proper dinner party.
While I was living in Indianapolis, Indiana, I had the great fortune of meeting Ed. Ed is a foodie. He loves trying new recipes and restaurants. Ed also has a generous spirit. He utilized his two greatest passions, cooking and connecting with people, and developed a “pay-what-you-can” (PWYC) meal served in downtown Indianapolis. Twice a month Ed and several volunteers would get together and cook a meal, then serve anyone who wanted to partake in the meal. There was no cost, simply the invitation to join a table of strangers or friends, enjoy the meal, and if you felt so led, toss a few bucks in a hat on your way out to assist with the costs.
Although you never knew who would be there, there was always a delicious meal and, often, even better conversation. It was an opportunity, free of any expectations, to share a meal with neighbors while building relationships.
For me, these meals fit with Jesus’ direction to open my table to all who will come to eat and share their lives. The freedom of those meals called my attention to the times when, despite my best efforts, I continued to ignore strangers, failing to invite them to my dinner table, simply because I was fearful of the unknown.
The PWYC meals taught me to dismiss my fear, because it wasn’t about what I brought to the table with me. It was what I learned as we shared the table together.
God’s table is big enough for everyone, and everyone is invited. I’d like to think that Jesus wasn’t just asking us to mind our manners. Rather, he was preparing us for the proper heavenly dinner party to which everyone is invited!
Rebecca Craver, pastor, Edmonton Moravian Church, Edmonton, Alberta