Friday, February 9, 2024

A Place at the Table

For a long time in my life, I have inappropriately meshed two messages of Jesus in my heart - in my wounded, world-weary, broken heart. And those messages center around the Table. 

See, I know that the Bible tells us that Jesus has set a table for us. We have seen it in the Upper Room, and we come together to celebrate what it means to break bread and to pour wine with Him, to remember and to celebrate His sacrifice for us. There is something wonderfully holy about this moment. 

But every time I would think about this table, I would think about another table, too - a table in a lesson that Jesus was trying to teach. There was a point in His ministry when Jesus said clearly that when you come into a party, when you come into a room where there is feasting afoot, you should never take a dignified seat at the table (this is how I read it); instead, you should always take the lowliest possible seat, maybe even sit on the floor, so that no one will figure out that you don't belong where you tried to sit. 

Do you hear my brokenness talking? 

For years, I would sneak into the back of Communion, quietly tiptoeing, trying not to get caught. I didn't want anyone to know that I didn't belong there. Probably even more than that, I wasn't sure my heart could handle hearing that I didn't belong around that Table. There was something inside of me that didn't feel worthy. That, honestly, didn't feel loved. That felt like, even though this table was for everyone, that somehow still didn't include me. 

And, well, no one wants to be the center of attention when everyone figures out you don't belong where you tried to be. Jesus says it's shameful to be asked to move because you overestimated yourself. 

Better, then, to just sit on the floor. If one dares stay long enough to sit at all. 

It took a long time before I could envision this table any other way, but once I did, it changed everything. 

See, this table is not set with just a certain number of seats. There's not room for just so many and then no more. This table is set with a personal invitation, and that seat at the table already has my name on it. 

It's sitting there, reserved for me. Ready and waiting. And when I come in and choose to sit on the floor or hang in the back, that seat doesn't get filled by someone more confident, more faithful, more favored, more beloved, more ready to be there, less broken...when I come in and choose to sit on the floor, my seat at the table stays empty. 

And with those beckoning eyes, Jesus just keeps motioning toward it. With a nod of the head, He says, "That's your place. It's yours. It's always going to be yours. Whenever you're ready." 

And so, from the floor, I spent many years staring at an empty seat that bears my name. A seat I was too insecure, too unsure, too broken to sit in. I sat, and I watched it, and I saw in His eyes the invitation. 

I don't know if it's a lowly seat. I don't know if it's a seat of honor. I don't know if it's the kind of seat someone might be asked to move from...or the kind of seat someone might be asked to move to. I don't know where, in the hierarchy we're so intent on putting on everything, what sort of seat this is. 

But it's mine. It's my seat. It's my place at the table. 

And if I never have the peace of heart to sit there, it will always and forever be open for me. And if I walk in tomorrow and sit like I belong there, no one will bat an eye. And either way, God Himself will continue to smile on me, beckon with His eyes, and nod His head. 

This Table is for me. 

This Table is for you. 

Will you come? 

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