I was waiting for the call, the invite, the day, the time and place.
A group of old friends, some of us knowing each other from kindergarten through high school, reconnected and a dinner date was in the works.
The woman organizing the evening promised to call me as soon as all the arrangements were in place.
A few weeks went by and one day while scrolling down my facebook news feed I saw them — all of them sitting around a table, having dinner together.
Oh the curse of facebook. We see things that, once upon time, came to our attention through the grapevine.
It’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the social media craze.
Did I miss a text, an email, a phone call? I checked. Nope.
I was forgotten. Skipped over.
You know those feelings of rejection you got in junior high when your friends went to a party without you and afterwards you found out about it? Well, those long, long ago feelings paid me a visit and I felt like a foolish junior higher with left-out and rejected emotions coursing through me.
They had dinner together and I wasn’t invited?
It bothered me for a while and then my friend’s text came — “Mea Culpa” — I googled those words, there was more communication between us and forgiveness extended.
There have been more serious rejections and painful situations in my life than the story that I just shared. I think it’s safe to say that you’ve experienced them too.
We’ve all been there, feeling rejected, excluded, forgotten, ignored at one time or another.
But there’s one table – a banquet table – where there aren’t any exclusions. It’s an open invitation and we’re all invited.
Jesus set the table and it’s a table where we can bring all our baggage, rejections, hurt, pain, frustration and lay out our sin. It’s not for the perfect or for those dressed a certain way, those of the right ethnic background, social status, the VIP, or the prestigious. No, it’s all-inclusive.
He welcomes all with open arms to his banquet table. It’s a place to feast on his goodness and receive his gifts. The gifts of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.
He sends out the invitation: “Come, for everything is now ready.” (Luke 14: 17) But not everyone accepts the invitation.
Sometimes the excuses we make to decline his invitation seem sensible. We ignore the invitation because we’re busy with life–family, jobs, financial obligations, to do lists, bucket lists or whatever else consumes our time.
At his table there’s great love, we learn and grow in our relationship with him –it’s the discipleship process–we grasp the depth of his love that came through a horrific sacrifice–and through it came grace. It was all about grace.
His grace is lavish. It’s an astonishing grace but it’s not cheap grace. It was never cheap. There was a cost and that brings us to another table.
On that night so long ago, the night before his death, he broke the bread and lifted the cup — a symbol of his broken body and spilled out blood.
It should have been me, it should have been you but he took the pain and suffered the cross so we wouldn’t have to. It cost him his life.
Thankfully it didn’t end there, because 3 days after Jesus’ death he rose and is alive and he’s waiting at the BIG BANQUET TABLE that he’s preparing for those who will meet him face to face. It’s another table, for another time and will be the biggest most beautiful celebration of all.
But until that day his table (on this side of heaven) is set, the invitations are out, you’re invited, I’m invited.
And he says, Come for all things are ready…
Read about the feast and banquet table here: Luke 14: 15-24