Saturday, April 18, 2015

Table presence

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 24:28-49

TO CHEW ON: "And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread." Luke 24:35

"Come Lord Jesus, be our guest
May this food to us be blessed.  Amen."

This childhood grace came true in the flesh for two disciples. Unbeknownst to them, Jesus was their traveling companion on the road to Emmaus. At the end of the seven-mile walk, they invited this interesting stranger to stay with them.

It was in the breaking of bread that they recognized Him. What was it that twigged—the lift of His eyes when he gave thanks? The way He tore the bread and dipped it into the sauce? The way He chewed? The fact that these disciples recognized Him during their meal tells us they had shared meals with Him before.

Henri Nouwen talks about the meaning of this incident:

"The table is the place of intimacy. Around the table we discover each other. It's the place where we pray. It's the place where we ask: 'How was your day?' ...

'The table, too, is the place where distance is most painfully felt. It is the place where the children feel the tension between the parents, where brothers and sisters express their anger and jealousies...

'Around the table, we know whether there is friendship and community or hatred and division. is also the place where the absence of that intimacy is most painfully revealed" - Henri Nouwen, With Burning Hearts, pp. 74,75 (paragraphing added to ease online reading).

Mr. Nouwen's musings bring me to the question, is the table in my home a place of blessing or pain? Do I truly expect Jesus to be my guest? Is He present with me, with us, in this most ordinary, mundane, and needful activity of life?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for sharing with us Your life on earth in these ordinary ways (and inspiring Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to record them). Please be with me in my sitting and walking, at the table and doing the dishes, when I work at my computer or read my book. Please join me in all my activities of daily living. Amen.

MORE: Nouwen again...

"Jesus accepts the invitation to come into the home of his traveling companions, and he sits down at table with them. ...Then something new happens. Something scarcely noticeable to an untrained eye. Jesus is the guest of his disciples, but as soon as he enters into their home, he becomes their host! And as their host, he invites them to enter into full communion with him" - Henri Nouwen, With Burning Hearts, p. 77.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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