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See and TellThe Table

The Table – Week 2

By January 11, 2021February 18th, 2021No Comments
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Watch Week 2:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:5-6

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:5-6

An Invitation to Belonging

The table of the Lord offers us belonging: a place to know and be known among the family of God. This table is a place to be loved, accepted, and called to the work of the kingdom.

This week we will spend time in the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus, a story that is reflective of the entire ministry of Jesus. Throughout the gospels, we see Jesus going from place to place announcing the arrival of his kingdom by calling people healed and forgiven, belonging to the community of his followers.

Yet the story of Zacchaeus reminds us that the belonging we find at the table of Jesus is not a belonging designed to make us comfortable or complacent.

We are offered a belonging that invites us to be vulnerable, to allow ourselves to be fully seen and still completely loved by Jesus. We find ourselves in the tree with Zacchaeus: seen by Christ, called to stand exposed before him, named among his people, and found worthy to host his presence.

This table offers a belonging that will invite us to see beyond our own expectations and beliefs. We find ourselves whispering among the crowd: “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner” (Luke 19:7). We grumble at the unsettling mercy of Jesus. We are offended at those with whom he would share a table. We are challenged to repent and embrace the way of Christ as he disrupts our understanding of the world. This is a belonging that calls us to see everyone – even those we least expect – as worthy of a place at the table.

This week, may we encounter the gaze of Christ and know his embrace of every part of our hearts. May we welcome the belonging of everyone we least expect. May we know, receive, and cultivate belonging at the table of Christ in our lives.

Slow Down

Meditation

We encourage you to start or end your days this week by spending a few slow, quiet moments reading this verse. Invite the Lord to speak to you anew each day through this scripture, and allow your heart and mind to rest in the faithfulness of his word.
“The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
(Revelation 3:20 NRSV)

In the Word

As you contemplate the idea of belonging this week, we encourage you to spend time in the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10. On your own or with others, use the questions from Every Home’s Be Fruitful and Multiply discipleship curriculum to help guide your study:
• Read the story once to get familiar with it. Who are the characters in the story? What are their actions? What other details does the text provide? Allow the story to “come to life” in your imagination. (What might you see? Smell? Hear? What would the face of Jesus look like as he stops to speak with Zacchaeus?) Pause to invite the Lord to make your heart attentive to his voice as you spend time in his word.
• Read the story a second time. This time, try to put yourself in the story by “stepping into the shoes” of each character. For each character, ask: What emotions might the character be experiencing? What choices does the character make? What motives might the character have for each choice? (What might Zacchaeus feel as Jesus stops to see and embrace him? At each step of the way, Jesus chooses to move toward Zacchaeus rather than pass him by. Why might he do this?)
• Consider which character(s) you most identify with in the story. When do you feel like Zacchaeus? When do you feel like the crowd? As you identify each of these places, invite the Lord to speak into your heart and circumstances through his word. Consider what truth the story speaks to you about loving God, others, and yourself (Luke 10:27). Reflect on any ways the Lord might invite you to respond to this truth.

For Further Reading: 1 John 4:7-21, Revelation 7:9-12

In Your Journal

As you feel led, engage this prompt in your journal this week.
If you are able, discuss the question with your spouse or a trusted friend.

• Make a list of places you have felt true belonging throughout your life (for example: family, ministry, club, church, social group, or team). In each of those places, how did it feel to belong? Did you ever question your belonging? What does it mean to you to belong? Take some time to notice how it feels when you want to belong to something, but you are left feeling “outside” instead. What emotions arise as you ponder this?
• Spend time writing a prayer that gives words to your desire to belong. Tell Jesus about your desire to belong to him. If it feels right, share with the Lord any places where you feel sadness or disappointment around the idea of belonging. Sit for a few moments and listen. Invite him to speak to you, and write down anything you hear.

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At Your Table

1. Belonging does not happen by accident. Belonging is carefully cultivated, especially in the ways we speak and respond to one another. This week, invite the Holy Spirit to guide your words as you speak to your family and friends. Ask him to help you speak words of kindness and love that build connection and belonging. Notice how it feels to be intentional about the way your words build connection with those who are closest to you.
2. If you are able, take a walk outside this week – alone or with other members of your household. Pay attention to the way “all things work together.” Look for connections in the world around you. Invite the Lord to help you see how everything belongs. Ask him to speak to you about your place of belonging in it all.

May the Lord restore your soul as you spend time at his table this week.

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