Thursday, May 4, 2017

Come to the Table: Isolation

We live in a society that prides itself in it's individualism. We celebrate those that have "made it" on their own. They are self-sufficient and lack nothing. In our society to be dependent and in need is seen as a weakness. A disease. What we despise in our society as weakness seems to be the reality that we celebrate when we all get to heaven. We hear this joke often, "shhhh the baptists think they are the only ones here". Heaven is antithetical to racism and prejudices. Heaven is a place where we live in the fullness and celebration of one another. 

So if heaven is a great feast where we all celebrate one another and where we all break bread not at separate tables but at the same table...then one must ask, what is hell? 

Hell must be isolation. Hell must be individualism. Hell must be self-sufficency. The very thing we celebrate about our society might be very same thing celebrated in the great kingdom of Hell. So it seems we aren't getting closer to heaven with our individualism (I'll do my life my way...) instead we are on this road that is leading to hell (the opposite of where Jesus is leading... Just in case you need clarification.).

Jesus in his earthly ministry practiced heaven. Jesus (the God of the Universe) didn't do it alone. He called disciples to come with him. Jesus didn't share the table with those that just looked like him and talked like him. He shared the table with those that society deemed unclean, sinful, demonized, the impoverished, the outcast... The people that we pity but have never been invited to our table. Because for some reason we looked past this expression to love one's neighbor. 

Part of what I am challenging our congregation to do these next few weeks will be difficult towards the end (if not already). What does it mean to eat with some one that "I" know really well but have never broken bread with them? What is it that we are scared of? What does it mean not just to feed the poor but to dine with them? 

All in the name of practicing the ways of Jesus and living into what I think heaven will be.