an early gathering of Open Table
I thank Linda T. for being willing to facilitate tonight’s Festive Fifth Sunday gathering and lead you in sharing stories. Even missing one gathering time with you means I’ll miss something important—an insight someone shares, a story that helps us understand one another better, a joke that loses some of its humor when it’s retold in another setting, the light of your dear faces. I will miss being with you tonight, but I am thankful for a few days to be with my family.
I told a somewhat silly story in my sermon last week. Your stories for tonight might be funny or tender or both. Sharing stories and a meal, which you'll do tonight, are two of the most powerful of spiritual disciplines in all cultures—and are at the root of Christianity’s central ritual. Holy Communion is all about retelling the story of Jesus and recommitting to his ways of loving union through a common meal. A faith community called Open Table knows well the hows and whys of this communal practice.
According to the liturgical calendar, this is the sixth day of Christmas, so although the larger culture thinks Christmas is over, the Church continues celebrating the coming of God in the very unexpected form of a human child. Although the “after Christmas sales” have started, we’re still mining the story of the incarnation, the “enfleshment” of the sacred. We recall that the incarnation is a story that shows God being revealed to us in ordinary physicality, God coming to us as vulnerable love.
Next Sunday I’ll share with you some themes we’ll explore in the new year. But our year-round and life-long theme is vulnerable love, which we picture best in a manger and on a cross—and that you, my friends, represent in the ways you care for others, listen to another’s heart, lay aside ego for the greater good, forgive generously, communicate honestly but humbly, and pursue Jesus’s peaceful ways with passion without taking yourselves too seriously. I see the Light of God in each of you.
YOU are the best sermons anyone ever hears at Open Table.
With love and thankfulness,