Scripture: James 3.17-18
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
Reflection: Meals Together, Forgiveness to Go
By John Tillman
It almost takes a special occasion for many of us to pause our fast-paced lives and eat together. We eat on the go, in the car, at our desks. We even skip eating—not for a spiritual purpose, but using faddish intermittent fasting to kick our bodies into burning fat. (In American culture skinniness is next to godliness.)
Even Christ’s disciples ate on the go at times, But food is more than physical nourishment, and the regular meals Christ participated in and instituted for the church were acts of community and communion.
In his essay, Beyond Easter, Milton Brasher-Cunningham sees an expansion of the table of communion to the community around us.
“As often as you do this” might mean more than simply observing the Lord’s Supper. What if Jesus had in mind that we would remember every time we broke bread or sat down at the table together? What if Jesus was calling us to widen our sense of every table to include those who harvested the crops and raised the animals, and to make sure they are paid fairly and treated justly?
Christ’s breakfast on the shore is a model for us of gathering those who have failed, reinstating each other through Christ’s redemption, and being sent out to feed others.
What if all our meals were markers—altars of forgiveness and belonging? Come to the table. Lay down your burdens. Offer forgiveness. Ask for it, too. And bring anyone else you can find. Christ is risen!—pass the potatoes.
The power of Christ’s resurrection is realized most, not in our building of monuments or institutions, not in our grand schemes and fantastic programming, but in the breaking of the bread, the quotidian collecting of those whom we love around a table that nourishes us all, and praying God would give us new eyes to see those who belong alongside us.
How do we expand the Communion table to include every table? How do we make sure everyone has a table and food to put on it? How does every meal become part of the story of our redemption, our sustenance? How do we hear the call to feed the sheep?
May we pray these questions from Cunningham’s conclusion and expand our hearts and tables to those we have previously excluded.
May we take our meals together and our forgiveness to go.
Prayer: The Greeting
Hosanna, Lord, hosanna!…Blessed is he who comes in the nam of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord. — Psalm 118.26-26
– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.