Come and Eat by Doug Floyd March 31, 2010 There is something mysteriously wonderful about sharing a meal.

A couple of pots boil on the stove while a casserole bakes. A few people gather in the kitchen to watch the food and talk. Cheese and crackers lay on the counter. One person tells his story from the days events, and we laugh out loud. Soon we’re discussing a movie, a book, a dream. More cheese and crackers. I’m stirring a bowl of soup, yet listening and turning to face our little group. More people enter the kitchen. Now I can barely move from sink to stove. Voices are getting louder. More laughter. Smells encircle our stories. Like the soup on the stove, we are swirling together in a symphony of the senses. Memories and smells, sounds and touch all combine into something like a song or a stew. Sharing a meal is not simply eating, it is sharing life. It is a communion of bread and wine, of story and song, of laughter and tears. Sharing a meal is an invitation to intimacy. We meet friends and family around a table, in a restaurant, by a fire. We share life-in-time. Our spaces open into places of sharing life-in-time. Think about your home. Different rooms in the house offer opportunity for different ways to share intimacy. There are times when we close the doors and lock them to keep out anyone who would seek us harm. Enemies are not allowed in our space, in our time. At other times, we open the door to strangers and speak to them on the porch. We may want to spend more time together, so we invite them into our house to sit and talk. Then we may decide to befriend this person and invite them into an even deeper intimacy. We welcome them to share a meal with us. From the porch to the sitting area to the kitchen, we move from one level of intimacy or openness to another. Besides the bedroom, we share more unveiled intimacy at the meal table place than almost anywhere else. In an act of sheer surprise, Jesus shares the intimacy of a meal with his enemies and unexpectedly fulfills the prayer of the psalmist, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5). From the Holy Communion of the Godhead, Jesus steps into communion with prostitutes and tax-collectors. He eats and drinks with saints and sinners alike.

He even bares his soul before betrayers. In the meal to end all meals, Jesus kneels before each disciple and washes his feet. He know these supposed friends will betray him, deny him, forsake him. Yet he breaks the bread, he shares the wine, he opens his heart, and he gives his life to those who seek to take it. He invites Judas into the communion of love even while releasing him into betrayal. He welcomes the love and friendship of Peter even while revealing Peter’s inability to stand firm. Jesus prepares a meal for a world that despises him, a world that hates him, a world that is at war with him. He turns out toward the vile, the faithless, the betrayers and the betrayed. He extends his hands to the cowards, the mockers, the cruel and the crushed. He breaks the bread of his body and the wine of his blood before a world of haters and hurters. He takes hold of our wrists even as our bodies as sinking into death. He embraces our bent hearts even as we hide from his love. He simply says, “Come and eat.” We have not truly kept the fast, yet we are invited to the feast. We are the faithless and the fickle. We are the failures and the forgotten. In our immorality and even in our morality, we’ve turned away from God. We’ve exalted in our own righteousness, our own wisdom, our own strength, our own spirituality. In the intimate light of His unveiled love, we are exposed and strangely, wondrously, we are loved. He washes our feet. He feeds us with real meat and real drink. He clothes us in robes of righteousness. He extends to us the sheer surprise of the Father’s hospitality. In the mystery of His generosity, we are adopted into the family of God and welcomed into the communion of God.