He took his seat at the table, and his apostles with him. He said to them, I have eagerly desired to eat this meal with you, before I suffer. - Luke 22:14-15
As Jesus prepared for the worst, he broke bread with his friends.
He faced brutality, abandonment, humiliation and death. In the face of all this he chose to gather with people he loved, share time and conversation, and eat together.
He wouldn’t flee the evil that awaited him, and he wasn’t gearing up to fight those who meant him harm. Instead, he chose to model an alternative to the cruelty he was going to endure.
Sit, rest. Be at peace. Breathe deeply, pay attention, see and hear your friends. Take, eat. This is my body, broken for you. Take, drink. This cup holds a new covenant with God.
Will the world exclude and abuse? At this table, we welcome and heal.
Does the world judge and condemn? At this table, we listen and grow.
Is world full of those who kill and destroy? At this table, we believe in resurrection and new life.
Of course, it’s reasonable to ask why it matters that God and some people choose generosity and compassion in the face of hatred and calamity.
After all, Jesus was the target of institutional power and the most potent instruments of viciousness and terror the world had yet devised. You and I live in a world largely shaped by destruction and wickedness.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Each of us is small in relationship to everything we face.
But our smallness or needn’t be a cause or excuse for despair. Jesus was small and frail, and that’s the point. God’s victory doesn’t come from being more terrible than the worst things the world can conjure. God’s victory comes in the resurrection of the crucified. God’s power is shown in small things shared by small people: grace, forgiveness, peacemaking, courage, and new beginnings.
Christ instructed his friends to remember him in the humblest of actions - simple eating, simple sharing. In this humility, great power is found.
The Table is a church in Davenport, Iowa, where transformation is happening:
from greed toward generosity
from violence toward peacemaking
from isolation toward neighborliness
from fear toward faith