The Open Table

The Open Table

Do you know what the most important piece of furniture in our homes might be? No, it is not the TV stand or the recliner. The most important piece of furniture in our homes signifies more than what we often recognize it is capable of doing. I am thinking of the table extender.

This great and important piece of furniture is often hidden away in some closet. Why do I feel like it is the most important piece of furniture that we own? Why would I say something that seems outlandish? It is hidden away and, sometimes in our home, it is the thing that allows Abbi to extend her desk, since she works from home and at the dining room table. Yet it is a piece of furniture that allows us to be hospitable and invite people into our homes and lives.

When the table extender comes out, it often means we are preparing to host a large feast and need the extra space. Perhaps some of you will need it tomorrow for your Labor Day celebrations. We like to host people in our homes and celebrate with food and good conversations. The table extender comes out when the family comes in for the holidays, when friends have come over for a special meal, or some other moment when we are hosting people. The table extender is a physical representation of how we have made room in our lives for people to join us in fellowship and relationship.

I wonder what it would look like if the kingdom of God had a table extender. Have you ever wondered about that? I’ll be honest, it is something that has been on my mind as we reflect upon our passage from Luke 14:7-14. If the table extenders from our dining room tables are a metaphor for how we like to entertain and welcome people into our homes, what would a table extender look like in the kingdom of God? Perhaps it’s more important that we should ask, who would God welcome to dine with him at his table? Continue reading “The Open Table”

Seeing Jesus in Others

Throughout my ministry, I have preached on many passages that have led to a wide selection of interpretations and reflections. There have been passages where I have not known where to begin. There have been scriptures where I was never quite sure which angle to take, and sermons where it was as much for me as it was the congregation that I preached the message to.

Those sermons come after much prayer and reflection, with hope for a sermon that speaks to both myself and the congregation. A professor of mine once told me that if the sermon does not speak to you, then it will never speak to the person in the pew.  Continue reading “Seeing Jesus in Others”

We Are Easter People: Living Holy Lives

One of my favorite Scripture passages can be found in Luke 18:9-14.

There we see the story of  two people who went to the Temple to pray. One of the people praying was a Pharisee while the other was a tax collector. What I like about this passage is that it is one of those stories that reflects on who we often are and who we want to be.

Jesus recounts the Pharisee’s prayer first. He looks around and prays that he is glad he is not like any of the other people who were around. The tax collector then prays. He prays for God to simply forgive him. Jesus doesn’t offer commentary on the two prayers, but allows the contrast to speak for itself.

I mention this story, because I believe it highlights how we often relate to our new life in Christ and the Good News of the resurrection. We know God has given us a new life through faith in Christ, but sometimes we respond to this new life by looking out into the world and being thankful we are not like some of the others. Thankful that we have it all together. Thankful that we aren’t like those who struggle. Much like the Pharisee, it is an attitude where we consider ourselves as “holier” than others because of this new life. An attitude often seen by the people we seek to love as judgmental, condescending, or dismissive. Continue reading “We Are Easter People: Living Holy Lives”