” And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
I’ve been thinking about starting a blog of my own for a couple of years now, but I’ve never quite got around to it. There are a lot of things I care about. Some are serious, like my support for marriage equality and social justice issues. Some are frivolous, like my love of cartoons and science fiction. I’m sure that I’ll write about all these things, and be warned I will probably connect these things together in some rather strange ways.
But for my first blog I’m going to write about our lack of civility at the family table. And by the family table I mean the table that God has set for us. God calls all his children to His table and instead of thanking Him we fight over who gets to sit where. We squabble and complain about our brothers and sisters in Christ… I don’t want to sit next to James – he’s one of those progressive Christians. I am equally guilty of bad manners at God’s table. There are people who I’d rather not sit next to because I disagree with them about this or that.
But that’s not how family dinner works. I am blessed with good family. I’ve always known that my parents love me and this is has been a great source of strength and comfort to me over the years. I am also loved and accepted by my two brothers and two sisters. Even when we didn’t always get along or “like” each other we were bound together by our abiding love for one another. I am also blessed with a loving wife, two daughters, a son and six soon to be seven grandchildren. I’ve have also been embraced by my wife’s family as if I had always been a part of that family and not just some guy who married their sister. I am blessed indeed. Which by way of introduction brings me to the point I want to make. Family is important.
No family is perfect; even the closest families have their disagreements. In fact, no one can push your buttons like family. Brothers and sisters argue about all kinds of things. Serious things like religion, politics and the best way to raise kids. We also argue over trivial things like Saturday morning cartoons and whether Batman or Spider-man is cooler. But when you need to turn to someone for help family is always there. Family is a bond so powerful that it cannot be broken. It is a bond forged by love and common experience.
And of all the common experiences we experience, family dinner is quite possibly the most important. Family dinner is the time when we join together for physical and spiritual nourishment. To share food is to literally share life.
The Christian community is very much a family. It is not the physical church building that binds us together. Indeed, if we truly believe the teachings of Jesus, our churches could be pulled down so that not one stone was left upon another and still we would be bound together by our abiding love for one another and God’s perfect Grace. Our sacred scriptures could be scattered to the four winds and yet we would still know the whole of scripture as long as we love God and one another. God’s kingdom begins and ends in love. A love so great that God in the person of Jesus Christ died on the cross for us.
So let us not forget that before Jesus died, He called all of us to His Father’s table. We are His family and like any family we will disagree over things that matter to us a great deal and things that shouldn’t matter to us at all but somehow do. We will get angry with one another and say hurtful things, but at the end of the day we are still a family. We are all called to the family table to break the bread of life and to drink the wine of salvation. We do this in remembrance of God’s great gift to us. We are all called to God’s table and we don’t get get to choose we sit next to. We are expected to treat the person next to us with the same respect we would treat our dearest friend and in so doing we may entertain an angel or Jesus unaware.