I’ve had a lot of church camp pictures pop up this week in my Facebook memories feed. I counted and between being a camper, counselor, director, and keynoter I have spent 52 weeks at church camp. That’s right, an entire year of my life at church camp. A pretty good way to spend a year of your life. These memories make me think about relationships, which makes me think about tables. Disciples spend a lot of our time around Table, which means at church camp, you spend a LOT of time around table. A smorgasbord of elements past the typical bread and wine (or juice) have graced the tables of which I’ve been a part;
Doritos and Dr. Pepper
Apples and Honey
Jello and Swedish Fish (not sure this is entirely theologically appropriate)
Wendy’s Frosty and French Fries (this is an awesome combo)
M&Ms and Sprite
Bananas and OJ
Take a moment and think about some of the tables that you have been around. Some of those tables might be your mother’s table or grandmother’s table. Some of those tables may have been put together by a complete stranger. There are tables filled with family and friends and there are tables filled with strangers who may or may not soon be friends. The tables may be in a fine dining restaurant, or outside at a campsite under a crisp night sky. Tables sit at the center of our life experience.
It’s no coincidence, as Jesus understood the power of a shared meal. He often used a shared meal as an occasion to reach as many people as possible with God’s healing, love, and salvation. Jesus ate with everyone, tax collectors, Pharisees, sinners, disciples, whoever. Jesus ate with everyone.
This is why I believe in the open table. The one we seek to follow dined with everyone, no exceptions. The experiences I’ve had around a table lead me to believe that everyone is entitled to the power of the table. The table bridges the gaps and brokenness we create in life- in relationships, in community, through violence, through racism, through nationalism and the many other actions we take to divide. God reconciles in love through the redeeming act of gathering at a table together.
So know that you are invited and welcomed.
No matter what is on it or who is gathered, the presence of God is among the gathered.