I love to eat. I think that is abundantly clear. Good food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. My mom and grandmother are two of the best cooks anyone could ever have growing up. Fried chicken, grits, biscuits and sausage gravy were some of our staples – as is fitting given our southern roots. My friends always wanted to hang out at my house because, quite simply, the food was better. So when we talk about the spiritual practice of eating, I get really excited. I don’t think that’s going to require much discipline on my part!
Of course, the practice of eating in the context of our series, Extending the Table: Becoming a Church for Others, does not mean eating simply for the pleasure that it brings our taste buds. In our worship services, we often gather at a table – the Lord’s Table – where Jesus is present every time we come to receive him in faith. God, in a display of outrageous hospitality, welcomes us and nourishes us with his amazing grace.
However, we must remember Jesus’ words at the Last Supper with his disciples. He said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt. 26:28). “Poured out for many.” In other words, Jesus’ sacrifice is not just for them but for many. The actual Greek word, polus, means “many, much, a large number.” Jesus wants, and invites, everyone to come and drink the cup of grace at his Table.
This is where our practice of eating becomes especially important. One of the ways that we will be able to welcome people to the Table with Jesus is by sharing our tables with them. Eating together is central to hospitality, as it opens up space for relationships to be cultivated and deepened. The table is where strangers, and even enemies, are invited to become friends. In a world where division and isolation are common, one of the compelling and attractive distinctives of the church can be its recovery of generous table fellowship. The grace we receive from the Lord’s Table can be extended to those at the tables where we find ourselves each day, allowing us to join God’s mission in the world.
Keep your eyes on Jesus! Stay in the Word and in worship, either in person or online. And don’t spend too much time consuming media, social or otherwise; it’s not good for your soul.
P.S. Please note that our contemporary service will NOT happen outside on Sunday due to rain & cold in the forecast. Instead, our 8:30am service will happen in the Café as planned and our 10:00am service will gather via Zoom.CLICK HERE at 10am on Sunday to join. And invite some friends to join you! Church online is one of the easiest invitations you can make.
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