In this three-week My Network series, we’ve been looking at how to invite, include and bring people to Jesus. As Andrew said to his friend Nathaniel regarding this apparently new legit messiah he met, “Come and see.”
I mentioned this weekend that there’s a continuum implied in this series. There’s no sense in giving people techniques, methods or tools if they haven’t experienced “square one”: a true, experiential connection with God through Jesus.
Then this weekend was all about hospitality. I quoted Dr. Christine Pohl, author of Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, from an interview years ago in Cutting Edge magazine: “Hospitality in Greek is ‘love of strangers.’ Welcoming strangers had great significance for the early church. Hospitality meant welcoming outsiders into personal space, mostly a home, and offering them food, shelter, and protection. …It had a strong component of recognition and respect—which was most characteristically expressed through shared meals. They understood that who you eat with says a lot about who you…value.”
Hospitality, particularly around the table, is simply a reflection of what God has done for us. We were once “strangers”, but God invited us to His table. It’s interesting that with the first covenant, in the Holy Place in the tabernacle, there was a table for bread to be placed upon it. Only the priests could enter that room. The table was located near the veil that separated that area from the Holy of Holies, where God’s very presence dwelled, where only the High Priest could enter...and only once a year.
But it began with a table.
And isn’t it interesting that Jesus initiated the new covenant with all of humanity over a table, with a meal served…what Christians call The Last Supper, the Passover meal? That we, who were strangers to God, were invited to the table, to share in the body and blood of Jesus. Think about it: this New Covenant was initiated at a dinner with God in the flesh. When you see Jesus as truly God, the power of that moment is overwhelming. That’s part of the reason why communion is such a powerful reminder of being invited to the table by God Himself—and an invitation to enter His presence.
But next week is about what my friend Evan Griffin calls friendship with a vision. That’s when you dream for the people you know to become all that God wants them to be, to envision them enveloped in God’s love, His mercy and grace, forgiven and clothed in power. That’s when you see what they could be in the Kingdom. That’s when you call them out of darkness and into His marvelous light. That’s when you know what they could be in Jesus, when you see them the way Jesus sees them.
Someone was satisfied. Someone invited you to the table. And someone had high hopes for your transformation…and helped you cross the line of faith.
Pass it on, friends.