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At the Table

So much of our faith is gathered around a table. Eating together is a thread woven throughout the entire Bible. A hospitable meal with Abraham and the three visitors becomes the backdrop for much of scripture (Genesis 18). Eating is how the Israelites prepared and continue to celebrate the Passover (Exodus 11). A meal delivered the widow, her son, and Elijah (1st Kings 17). A meal showed the abundance of God as Jesus blessed, fed 5,000+ people, and the disciples gathered leftovers (Matthew 14). Peter dreamt of eating unclean animals as a way to see that God’s love and embrace was not just for Jews but Gentiles as well (Acts 10). It is for this reason that CS Lewis used a table as the place where Aslan was slaughtered in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The table changes everything.

It all started with a meal. A deceptive bite of fruit that brought everything crashing down. And it was all redeemed in a meal. The Host and the offering were one and the same. The victory feast that led to Calvary’s hill. The image we have of heaven is a wedding banquet with delicious food and fellowship. Food is at the heart of our faith. And, we are told, that food is what brings us together.

Psalm 23 reminds us that eating together is an act of defiance to the way things are and a provocative movement towards the way they are to become. Eating together brings reconciliation. With all the violence and horror that is being hurled around this globe these days, maybe the best the church can do is to set up some dining room tables and invite people to sit and eat together. This is one way to wage peace instead of wage war.

One of the many names we have for Holy Communion is Eucharist. It derives its name from the Greek word for Thanksgiving or gratitude. In this meal of bread and wine, we express our gratitude for all that God does for us and for all that He empowers us towards. Body and Blood. Bread and Wine. It is the heart of our gratitude. This meal is part of the bedrock for where our thankfulness is rooted. It is our firm foundation. Jesus and His ongoing gift to you. Jesus comes to you in the bread and wine. It is the way He delivers his grace, objectively.

Walking with Jesus is walking with Thanksgiving. The month of November is all about giving thanks. Many adopt the challenge of giving thanks for something specific each day of this month—making it a month of Thanksgiving instead of just a day. There is beautiful merit to this. There are lists out there to help you in this process, just google a Thanksgiving challenge and you will be inspired to make this a month of giving thanks for all God has done.

At Prince of Peace, we are going to spend a few Sundays in November talking about Stewardship. You’ll be invited to think of your financial stewardship as a statement of thanksgiving for God’s goodness. For the first time since I’ve been your pastor we will use pledge cards to share intentions of commitment. Make no mistake, stewardship has a financial component to it that is important. But, also, don’t be fooled, stewardship, in God’s word, is about far more than money. It is about how we live our faith. It is our song of thanksgiving. The best definition of stewardship that I have ever heard is this: Stewardship is everything we do with our lives after we first say “I believe.” Stewardship is how we give thanks and gratitude to our God for all that He has given and done for us. I hope you’ll join me in giving thanks. And committing together to this life of faith.

See you at the table.

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