Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Detox from Church--Part 3: Come to the Table

As I move away from the busyness of being at church, more and more I can experience Jesus' call to "Come to the Table." This phrase has been remuniating in my mind over and over, and making something deep within me long for more of it.

What does "Come to the Table" mean?

What is Jesus saying in his invitation to us to come?

He invited his disciples to come to the Passover table with him before his arrest. They, of course, didn't know what was coming as they gathered around the table, experiencing Jesus' presence, his laughter, his love, and his servanthood as he washed their feet.

But, I know that when the disciples looked back on that night, they knew that they had been invited to the table with Jesus and the experience totally shaped how the early Christians lived.

I keep going back to Acts over and over. Today I read it again (Acts 2) "they met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generousity." The Message says that the early Christians "committed themselves to the apostles teaching, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers." Right after that it states, "they worshipped in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful.... People in general liked what they saw."

There it is: the DNA of the early church in action.

They made being together a huge priority, in fact, they met together every day.

They did life together. They ate in one another's homes, blessing the home by their very presence in it.

They had fun together--laughing from the deep place in their bellies.

People on the outside saw what they had, and wanted it.

This is a far cry from many of the meals I've shared with other believers. They most often took place in the fellowship hall of the church, and everyone just hoped that by the time they made it through the line, there would be enough food. Most times, the people were gathered around an event, a missions talk, or a new members class, or the end of a Sunday School class.

We've substituted organizational gathering for the real thing: community, authentic friendship, living life together.

We've been so busy doing the organizational gathering that we've forgotten how to "live life together."

There's been a couple of people in the Missio Lux communities that have questioned, "Why do we have to eat a meal together? It makes it take so long--we could really shorten things up if we skipped the meal."

But, they are missing the point. The point is the meal. We are invited to the table with Jesus and with one another. This is the heart of what Jesus did. He hung out with people, going to parties, weddings, celebrations. Many of his best teachings happened in the context of the meal.

There's so much more that I can say about this. Jesus keeps calling me deeper into as I explore what it can be. I hope that you are hearing and responding to his invitation to "Join him at the table" but wait, don't forget to invite your friends, for they are desperate to come too!

No comments: