I want to take a break this week from what might appear to some who have been following this blog as taking more of a negative stance on church (I hope it doesn’t appear that way too much… but I get where some could start thinking that). I would like to use this week more as a reminder of why I love the church, which mainly will fall on why I would even wrestle with this thing called the church. This thing called the church is to represent Jesus Christ and His ongoing work in this world… what an incredible thing!!
I was reading in a book titled It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian by Tod E. Bolsinger and towards the end of the book is a picture of the church that absolutely gives us a great idea of what it seems the church (the one that is the hope of the world) would look like. The author uses this expression: “the people of the table” which uses a picture that I know for me conjurs up a wonderful picture of fellowship & following (that I was able to grow up with and hopefully gave our children as well). Many ministry opportunities to share Christ with each other begin with a meal… as well as when we look at Jesus’ ministry on this earth we see the sharing of bread together!!
Another way to think of this table image is that this is the place where it seems easier to open up our lives to each other we are in “community” with. But it really goes beyond that as well… it also seems to make it easier to open up our lives to those outside of our regulars. It is a great to place to invite others to our table and really into our lives!!
Why I love the church so much is because it not only represents a place where we can invite people to our table to meet the physical needs of the body, but more importantly a place to encourage others to follow along with us. That is follow the one who brings ultimate healing for the body, the one who has given the greatest gift of all!! Here is how Bolsinger expresses this in his book:
“A spirituality of fellowship and following is firmly oriented within the biblical vision of a people of God who are on a journey with God, expressing the reign of God, following God in trust and obedience and being transformed into the likeness of the Triune God in process.”
I believe it is why we need to have communion (at the Lord’s Table!!) together on a regular basis as a people, to be reminded of the invitation into communion with God!! Following the person of Christ rather than a place (building or denomination) called a church. I hear it said more and more that we are the church. But it has to be the church as Jesus works in and through our lives!!
So if the Church is a people of the table… then what would that look like for our churches today. How would it play out more regularly if we truly lived into being the people of the table? I know it brings back mostly wonderful memories for me… in fact I remember my father saying for our family of seven kids when the process of the kids starting to move out was becoming more of a reality that it was those supper meetings at the table that he would miss the most. It might not be that way for many people though. Which makes we also wonder how this invite to the table of fellowship and following might be key to opening up the church to those who haven’t experienced our savior!!
Matthew 25:35 I believe gives us a picture of that invite….
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,