Lollie and I move into our new house on Wednesday the 15th of September. Yesterday we bought a table. It’s funny how the symbols of ministry changed in my mind during the last few years. I’ve exchanged the big stately office in an ego-feeding church for the messy creative hospitality of a table meal in our house.
As I’m reflecting on our twelve seat table I’m wondering who’ll sit at our table in years to come … I’m challenged by the reading in Luke for this weekend,
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-2
Barbara Brown Taylor wrote an excellent article entitled
“Table Talk”” here’s an excerpt:
So if I were putting together a sinners table …. , it might include an abortion doctor, a child molester, an arms dealer, a garbage collector, a young man with AIDS, a Laotian chicken plucker, a teenage crack addict, and an unmarried woman on welfare with five children by three different fathers. Did I miss anyone? Don’t forget to put Jesus at the head of the table, asking the young man to hand him a roll, please, and offering the doctor a second cup of coffee before she goes back to work.
If that offends you even a little, then you are almost ready for what happens next. Because what happens next is that the local ministerial association comes into the restaurant and sits down at a large table across from the sinners. The religious authorities all have good teeth and there is no dirt under their fingernails. When their food comes, they hold hands to pray. They are all perfectly nice people, but they can hardly eat their hamburger steaks for staring at the strange crowd in the far booth.
May we populate our lives with the wild diversity of God’s blessed and marginalized people!