How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Psalm 119:103-104
“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” That quote from the 1958 film “Auntie Mame” could apply to the state of Christianity today. Faith in Christ is like an eternal banquet to which all are invited. Yet, so many remain outside, feeling excluded and afraid.
Many are disillusioned, kept out by false walls thrown up by those who believe this banquet is only for a select few. Those outside eventually are misled into being glad they’re not at the table, believing – from the words and actions of some Christians – that the food at Christ’s table must taste like sawdust.
Too much of what passes for Christianity today omits any taste of grace, and overshadows the banquet of God’s love with leftovers of Old Testament legalism. Judgement, fear, anger, lust for power and prosperity, and self-righteous pride too-often crowd out the grace, love and self-sacrifice Christ poured out on the cross.
But, things change drastically when we get our selfish desires and fear out of the way and let God do the cooking. Grace leads us to a new understanding – of who we are, where we came from, and where we’re headed. We are well-loved children of God, made in His image. Sinful. Fallen – over and over. But loved, just as we are. We’ve come from no other source than God. And we’re headed, as co-heirs with Christ, to His Kingdom.
When we embrace the love and grace that Christ offers, we cannot help but be transformed at this table. It is life-giving and life-changing in a way that makes us never want to leave. We come to hate any path, any choice, habit or action that would take us away from this banquet, not because we fear the bitter taste of legalism, but because we can’t stand to be separated from the sweetness of grace. And that is a banquet that welcomes, and has room for all.
Almighty God, we praise you for preparing a table before us in the presence of our enemies – for setting a table of grace and love amid our fear and greed. Help us, Lord, to accept our seat at your table, and to welcome all we encounter to your banquet. Amen.