If you ever want to see Jesus, you might want to start by looking around the table.
According to the Gospel writers, that's where they saw Jesus most of the time. He was so well known for hanging around tables that when we were looking for charges to level against him, the best we could come up with was that he was a drunkard and a glutton (Luke 7:34). In the resurrection, they almost didn't recognize him. That is, until he showed up at the table and their eyes were opened in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:35).
The Gospels are also clear that the table is not just a place for seeing Jesus.
The table is also the place for seeing like Jesus.
Who has enough? Who doesn't? Who has a place? Who is excluded? Who was invited but refused to come? Who snuck into the feast because they were so hungry for food and community that they would even eat the crumbs if they were allowed?
If you ever want to see like Jesus, you might want to start by looking around the table.
For example, one night, this happened:
One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to eat with him. After he entered the Pharisee’s home, he took his place at the table. Meanwhile, a woman from the city, a sinner, discovered that Jesus was dining in the Pharisee’s house. She brought perfumed oil in a vase made of alabaster. Standing behind him at his feet and crying, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured the oil on them. When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw what was happening, he said to himself, If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. He would know that she is a sinner.
Jesus replied, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
“Teacher, speak,” he said.
“A certain lender had two debtors. One owed enough money to pay five hundred people for a day’s work. The other owed enough money for fifty. 42 When they couldn’t pay, the lender forgave the debts of them both. Which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the largest debt canceled.”
Jesus said, “You have judged correctly.”
Jesus turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your home, you didn’t give me water for my feet, but she wet my feet with tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I came in. You didn’t anoint my head with oil, but she has poured perfumed oil on my feet. This is why I tell you that her many sins have been forgiven; so she has shown great love. The one who is forgiven little loves little.”
Did you hear the question that Jesus asked Peter (Simon)?
Do you see this woman?
This sacred question, first given to the church around the table, helps us to see like Jesus.
Looking around your life, who is asking to be seen and invited to the table? Who in your life, at work or in your neighborhood, or even someone you've never really seen with Jesus before, is yearning for community...for covenant...for communion?
Do you see them?
Begin to pray for Jesus to help you see who is missing from your table life, and begin to pray for them by name as you prepare to invite them to the table.
Two people share per meeting:
- Who are you called to invite to the Common Table?
- What do you see in them that makes you feel called to invite them?
- Share prayer requests around the Table, both joys and concerns.
- Pray by name for the people who are going to be invited.