On Sunday 20th October we had the third in the Reflections on the Eucharist series entitled “The Open Table”. It’ was a slightly different service – we prepared and then shared a simple vegetarian meal together and our worship combined the preparation and eating of the meal with prayers and readings. There was also space for quiet reflection, and some creative activities.
Reflection by Janet:
Today we’ve been gathering, baking, cooking, decorating, moving tables and chairs, preparing to share a meal together. All very ordinary things, but our reading today reminds us of the extraordinary in the sharing of a meal together.
Our reading tells the story of a man hosting a feast. A wedding banquet. And he wants this to be an amazing celebration. The food is prepared. The table is set.
The invitations are sent out. To important guests. To close friends. Special guests for a special occasion. To fill the room for an amazing party.
But in our story, the people on the invite list send their replies and the worst thing happens – the answer is no, they’re not coming. They are too busy. They have their own things to attend to, their own concerns. They have their work, their businesses to run. They have family and a farm to look after.
But our host is not daunted. The party must go ahead. The room must be full – there is a wedding to celebrate. The table is ready.
So the servants are sent out, to gather people from the streets. The ordinary are the ones who show up, who fill the room, sit at the table, who make the party happen.
As with lots of stories from Jesus, this isn’t just about a couple celebrating their wedding. It is pointing us towards something else. The wedding feast is a picture of Gods kingdom, God’s world order.
This kingdom is the one that began with Jesus, is continuing to come into being now, and will ultimately be completed when Jesus returns, when God finishes his work of bringing about this God’s world order.
In the wedding feast, the servants went out to find everyone who would come. The exclusive guest list for the party was torn up. And this kingdom of God, like the wedding feast, it isn’t just for the VIPs or special friends. The invitation is for us all.
And now, today, as we share our meal together, we are reminding ourselves of this party that started with Jesus. Where everyone is on the guest list. Where we are all welcome. We are all are invited to sit at the table.
The question for us is what is our RSVP? Will we take our place at the table? Will we say yes? Will we say yes to the invitation?
“…really enjoyed today. doing stuff together as a small group was really good , and the prayers felt very meaningful as we all paused and came together as a big church”
“… a fantastic service this morning! … it was really meaningful and lovely!”
If you would like to find out more about this series then please visit Phil Gardner’s site.