Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kitchen Table Talk

My mom has the gift of hospitality!  She loves to cook and bake, and now, even at 80 years of age, it is not uncommon for her and dad to welcome lunch or dinner guests, take a meal to someone in need, or serve coffee and refreshments to a whole group at their Eden Prairie high rise.  They love to serve and bless others with the love of Jesus and great food is just one of the vehicles!

When we were kids the kitchen table was a place of great food, family, laughter and conversation.  My dad had a rule:  “If your mother makes it, it’s good, and you will eat it.”  There was no criticizing or complaining about anything that was put on the table.  Of course, mom only made the meals that dad liked, so this was an easy rule for him to enforce.  Casseroles or “hot dishes” as we called them were a staple for a growing family in those days.

The Bible is full of “kitchen table talk.” Jesus broke bread with the highest and the lowest of society but always used the opportunity to build relationships, meet needs and share the message of God’s amazing love.  He visited the home of a fraudulent business man named Zacchaeus and turned his life around.  He multiplied a handful of loaves and fishes and turned a teaching seminar into an outdoor picnic.  He dined in the home of a member of the religious establishment but pointed to the sincere faith of the woman who washed his feet with her tears.  He had lunch with Lazarus and his sisters just a short time after raising him from the dead.  The night before his crucifixion, Jesus turned the Passover meal into a commemoration, or should I say a celebration of his impending death and resurrection.  Kitchen tables come in all shapes, sizes and locations!

So, do you welcome the Lord’s presence at your kitchen table, family gathering, coffee at Caribou, business lunch or dinner with friends?  Our meals are more on the move than ever today; however, one thing remains true.  Where two or three gather “in his name” he promises to show up!  Don’t forget to invite, welcome and acknowledge Jesus’ presence as your most honored guest.  And then listen, he just may have something to teach you!

When we gather for coffee, refreshments and conversation after worship on Sundays, remember that Jesus is in our midst.  His eyes are always open to welcome the guest, comfort the hurting, encourage the weary or celebrate with laughter.  Our eyes should be open too.

When we gather for fellowship with our Life Group, Teen Challenge guests, an all-church potluck, a funeral reception or an Easter Breakfast, let’s make sure that our “kitchen table talk” is up-building and glorifying to God.  Jesus is right there among us.

When we receive Holy Communion, let’s come with hearts prepared to both confess our sins and receive God’s amazing grace, mindful of the need to extend that forgiveness and grace to those around us.

When I was growing up I was blessed to be in a family where anything could be talked about openly and honestly.  There was lots of love and support with an appropriate amount of discipline and correction sprinkled in.  Meal times were happy times. God invites you to make every meal an opportunity for “kitchen table talk,” the kind that acknowledges and welcomes our most honored guest, Jesus.

Pastor Greg Pagh   

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