Wikipedia says that hospitality is the relationship between the guest and the host. I remember growing up as a young girl in the Bronx, visiting family especially my aunt Myrna and my grandma. No matter when you arrived the host (my aunt & grandma) would always bring out a pot of coffee. Often crackers would follow with a little butter or perhaps some grape jelly.
The same atmosphere was established in my home, with my mom. Come and visit and my mom would quickly make you feel like royalty. The coffee is brewing, the bread is coming out. You see it was not necessarily what was brought out, but the spirit of hospitality that was at work. I have learned much from my mom.
It was a delight to be welcomed to sit and chat for a while. If we lingered then the sandwiches would follow. Sometimes this became an all day affair and dinner scents, a pleasant aroma would soon be in the background as savory beans and rice would begin to simmer. The Hispanic spices would permeate the entire home!
Sitting at a table and reclining is a welcomed pastime I'm sure in many cultures. We have been made for relationships.
Lately I have been meditating on the table; the place where we meet, recline, meet eye-to-eye and share.
On Saturday, May 23rd, just a few weeks ago, I went to visit my cousin Hector Alvarez. Hector was sick and in the hospital. I can't bring Hector to my home and I can't go to his, but can we both meet at the table. The table I am referring to is a place where we can recline and pour out my heart with Jesus.
Jesus is always drawing men to himself almost as to say, sit here, stay a while, let's talk. Even though my Father in Heaven owns everything, he is gentle, meek and humble. He could bring out a "spread" that would be second to none, but what he is after is the relationship; the broken relationship that needs restoration. In the book of Isaiah the prophet writes; Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).
God who has come in the flesh to reconcile mankind to himself wants to talk with me, with you. It's as if he has invited me to this table so that his enemy (me) can be made right with Him (God). He does not have to communicate with me after all what does the holy and the unholy have in common? But his love draws us.
There is this great love that God has for us and we often miss it. He has asked me to sit and talk it out. Me? Yes, me and you.
So on Saturday, my cousin and I took the invitation from Jesus and sat together for a while; yes in the hospital room the invitation was extended. We prayed, we cried, we called out to God. We sang and we could hear the invitation come quietly. Hector, will you come and sit, let's talk, let's reason together.
When Jesus invites us a few things often happen; if pride has a grip on us and won't let us go, we will argue that we are o.k.; we are good; I got this Jesus, I'm not so bad. Truly we are the ones holding to the pride.
Jesus who humbled himself and came to earth in the flesh to rescue us from death has made the invitation. If you look closely, he is a King. The King of kings has extended the invitation, the one who can pardon and who operates in reconciliation.
My cousin began to express that he had done a lot of bad things in his life. I said, me too and the rest of the world as well. For there is no one good, not one (Romans 3:10)!
See, an invitation to sit at the table does not have to be complicated. It's a table and two chairs. It's God and its us. It's forgiveness requested, forgiveness extended. An acknowledgement that I need a Savior and one indeed has come.
At this table there is no food for my stomach; what I find is rest for my soul. He has satisfied a yearning to be accepted, to be forgiven, to be made new.
The Bible says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him".
I will loose and hide myself in Him that I indeed may be found (Psalm 34:8)!
One table, two chairs, a King, and a prisoner being set free! Oh yes, he is GOOD!
Do you smell the sweet scent of the Spirit of God making restoration, reconciling souls to himself? It's an aroma that can sweep through the entire house if we allow it.
This invitation is always being extended, have you sat with him yet?
On Thursday, June 11th Hector went home to be with his Lord!
Tonight's the wake and I pray that all who hear the invitation would sit at the table and experience reconciliation as the Host pulls out the chair and asks us to sit with Him.