"And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me."
~ 1 Corinthians 11:24
Year's ago I decided to drive up to my great grandmother's home when I had a weekend free from work and college. The cloudy winter sky soon turned dark as I rounded the turn on Elizaville Road near Lebanon, Indiana, and entered the familiar circle drive.
As I walked in the back door, the smell of pork chops greeted me, along with a familiar smile as my great grandmother was happy to see this unexpected guest.
"Do you have company?" I asked.
"I do now," she responded.
When I walked into the dining room, the table was set for two.
As we sat down to eat, she was telling me about how she knew she would have a guest that evening, and that she would set the table in the dining room, not in the kitchen where she normally would sit to eat her meals.
I always felt welcomed at her home, but on this night, I felt extra special.
We held hands as she prayed, thanking God I had arrived safe on this winter eve, for the welcomed guest, and for the food that she had prepared.
I was a welcomed guest at the table.
For so many faith traditions, the table is a place where all of God's creation should find tbat they are welcomed.
Of course I know that some faith traditions have conditions to that invitation. Some of them focus on baptism, membership and a variety of other things.
While Christ invites us to simply "remember," our ability to offer hospitality at those times can look like a number of things.
Today's Sunday morning gatherings still represent segregation, division, and closed arms to those that are different from us.
One of the things I miss most about serving a congregation is being the one who welcomed others to the table. Many times in my life, I have thought of the night my grandmother welcomed me, like an unexpected guest, who was really expected.
Her ability to welcome the stranger was something, we as her family, were taught to be agents of hospitality.
It has not always been possible, not because of me, but because of others who made the unexpected guest unwelcomed.
I have also experienced that from others as well.
The table prepared by God will offer hospitality always. Even in the 23rd Psalm while sitting at a table with enemies, God annoints the gathering, and blesses to the point that a person's cup overflows.
I'm thankful that in scripture, and in my life, I have been welcomed as the stranger, guest, and one who has extended the invitation to take and eat in remebrance of the One who will always welcome us.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Rev. G. Todd Williams is the author of the book, "Remember Me When..." and is a former hospice chaplain and pastor.