What an interesting picture of the kingdom of God as a party of misfits! God welcomes all to the table to share in nourishment, conversation, and friendship. I envision laughter and moving stories and at times discomfort for some at the recognition of their privilege and assumption. But perhaps this party isn’t a one-time deal. What if in our every interaction, we host an upside-down banquet? What if in every moment we intentionally create space for others to be who they are, especially those pushed to the margins? A place of honor includes having a voice at the decision-making table of politics, organizations, and faith communities. It also includes shaping how we live. In our daily lives will we set out place mats in our hearts and minds? Will we make time for conversation? Will we seek out those who suffer, even when it makes us uncomfortable?
Our blessing comes in glimpses of the kingdom itself through a deeper understanding of God and perhaps an experience of God in relationship to the other. The blessing comes in letting go, opening the heart, and creating more space for each of us to be who we are. Our acknowledgment of the divine spark in others is often accompanied by a humble recognition that we are not the most important persons in the room. This moment can be painful, but it moves us to reconciliation with God.
Each time we think of ourselves too highly or underrate ourselves, we can return to the just-rightness of God’s grace and love. We then hear the invitation: “Friend, move up higher.” At the resurrection table of the righteous, we will take our place.
God, we are grateful for the generous welcome you offer. Help us to value ourselves and others as you value us. We welcome your blessing. Amen.
The admonition in Hebrews 13 “to show hospitality to strangers” is vividly illustrated by Jesus’ advice to guests and hosts in Luke 14. In the topsy-turvy world of divine hospitality, everybody is family. Radical hospitality makes sense only in light of the conviction that God rules the world and therefore adequate repayment for our efforts is simply our relatedness to God and our conformity to what God intends. The texts from Jeremiah and the psalm call the people of God back to commitment to God alone, rather than to the gods of the nations and their values. God is no doubt still lamenting our failure to listen but is also, no doubt, still inviting us to take our humble place at a table that promises exaltation on a scale the world cannot even imagine.
• Read Jeremiah 2:4-13. To whom or where do you go to ll your cup with living water?
• Read Psalm 81:1, 10-16. What shape does God’s bread and honey take in your life? Where are you being invited to open your mouth and to name the gift as sacred?
• Read Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16. How do you offer hospitality to those closest to you?
• Read Luke 14:1, 7-14. When have you been blessed by a party of mis ts? How can you extend the table?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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