Come to the table – by Chelsea Foster
This summer we have had a few family reunions. Each has been a memorable time of joining with loved ones and those whom we may see only once a year. Although each reunion is different, they are all similar in many ways. The format is simple… Someone initiates a gathering, we all plan to meet, we sit to break bread together and share stories, each person trying to outdo another. There’s talk of how far we’ve come, what we’ve accomplished, what we hope for the future and how things will be different for the next generation.It is quite a sight to observe.
As I look around, there are lots of cousins all squished at the table together, pulling up chairs to fit into any space they can find. An aunt is at the end of the table fussing about why I didn’t speak to her first. She says, “Don’t you see me sitting here? You’d better act like you know!” As I look around the room, there are clusters of people, laughing, smiling, and looking forward to the meal to be served. Then, in walks the cousin who is always been up to no good – the place gets silent for a moment as if someone pushed the pause button on each conversation at the same time. Everyone stops to look, acknowledges the presence of this expected intruder and quickly returns to previous conversations without missing a beat… After all, it’s only family.
Family reunions remind me of the Last Supper in Luke 22:14-15 when Christ reclines at the table and says, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you…”Christ welcomes all the disciples to the table to break bread with him. They are his family. “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35).” Each family reunion is an opportunity to “come to the table”. Sure, we have our Judas, who seeks the benefit of his own welfare, but “he belongs to us” (Luke 22:3). There are some Peters at the table whose faith has failed and they may have compromised themselves before the Lord. They also belong to us. Finally, there are those who would rather spend time arguing over matters that have little importance in eternity. They seem to miss the purpose for our reunion altogether. Yet, they too belong to us.
Despite knowing their hearts, Christ invites these fallen men to come to the table saying, “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table…” (Luke 22:28-30). I wonder if I could be as gracious and loving knowing what Christ knew about those who sat with him. Is this grace the core of my heart in relation to whatever situation I find myself whether at home, with family, on the job, at church…? Do I welcome others to come to sit at the table despite how they may have offended or hurt me, or worse, expecting to be hurt and offended? Am I willing to be numbered among transgressors? I pray to be. I pray that my children will see an example of grace in action that draws people to sit at the table of Christ and receive the relationship that has been prepared for them.
We are all challenged to not only come to the table but to make room for others also, despite what we may know about them, despite what we may have been through with them. The Passover table was a reminder to the people of Israel of what God had done in the past. But Christ was welcoming his disciples to lay aside those things of old and use this time to remember the common unity that they had as followers of Christ. May we each continue to “come to the table” in our relationship with fellow believers for “we belong to one another”. May God grant each of us the grace and the courage to come to the table each day to receive our daily bread, to forgive others their trespasses as we have been forgiven ours. May you know God loves you and has prepared a feast just for you. He wants you to come to the table and remember to make room for someone else.
Clf8/17/13 @ 2:05 am