WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: The Meal is the Method  Luke 7:34-50

Welcome.  You’re here on week three of a four-week series called “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” How many of you have seen the Mr. Roger’s documentary that they did?  Amazing documentary and tribute to an amazing man who really lived out the way of love, and did so in a compelling, breathtaking way.  Kelly and I saw the movie and I thought I really need to do a series on this because my heart’s plea to Jesus is that our church would look a little bit more like Mr. Roger’s neighborhood.  The first week we talked about the fact that God isn’t calling us to identify or define our neighbor, that’s sort of a low-level question.  In fact, He’s asking us to become neighborly to whomever we might meet.  Last week we said that’s not easy; as long as there’s been hospitality, there’s been complaining about offering it.  In 1 Peter 4:8-9, Peter writes to the church and says:  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  We typically grumble when we offer hospitality…..They’re coming over again?  How long are they going to stay?  Are they going to jack up our house and eat up all our food?  My goodness!  We said we’ve got to build margin into our life if we’re actually going to live out this way of Jesus, of not just offering hospitality but doing so without grumbling.

I don’t know about you, but as I’ve been wrestling with this topic more and more, and Jesus has been calling me to open my heart, my life, and my home, more and more, I’ve been seeing more opportunities to do that.  Anybody with me?  At the beginning of September, I was asked to be on a world religions panel at Kelly’s high school, Mountain Vista.  I was there along with a Buddhist, a Hindu, and a Muslim imam.  They asked us a number of different questions.  At one point, the Muslim was explaining things we get wrong about Islam.  He asked the class a question:  How many of you guys have a Muslim friend?  A few of the students’ hands went up.  I thought to myself, “I can’t raise my hand to that.  I don’t have a Muslim friend.”  In that moment I thought, “But I want one.”  After the panel, we all left and I was driving back to work thinking, “I really want….I would love a Muslim friend.”  So I emailed him.  I said something like hi, this is Ryan from the panel.  Great job.  Really fun to meet you.  I don’t have any Muslim friends and I would like one.  I felt like I was in middle school again….Will you be my friend?  Check ‘yes’ or ‘no.’   He wrote back and said, “I’d love to be friends.”  We started up this conversation via email and last Monday we went out for lunch together.  We got to talk about our faith.  We got to talk about our families. We got to talk about our upbringing.  We got to talk about Jesus.  It was as though as the table sort of turned into this altar, where something unique and something special started to happen.

But that isn’t all that unique and all that special because that happens around tables all the time, doesn’t it?  Every time we gather with friends, or family, or strangers around a table and share food, something unique, something SACRED, happens.  Which is a good thing because we spend a lot of our lives eating, have you recognized this?  We will spend 67 minutes on average per day eating or drinking.  Over the course of our life, we will spend somewhere around 32,000 hours eating!  So, it’s good thing that something sacred and meaningful happens around the table.

Also, we live in this tension, don’t we?  We live in a time and place where chefs have become celebrities, some of them.  They have written best-selling books.  They’ve become inspirational speakers.  AND, at the same time, we as a country, spend over $50 billion every year on dieting.  At any moment, you could do a survey of our nation and 25% of men and 47% of women will be dieting at any one time.  We have this sort of love-hate relationship with food, don’t we?  At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from some sort of an eating disorder; that’s just under 10% of our country.

Food is a sort of tough thing to wrestle down and our relationship to it.  If you look at the story of God, there’s food all throughout.  In the very beginning, food is where things start to go wrong…..Adam and Eve eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, right?  In the middle of the story, you have the picture of things going right….or being put back to right…..it’s a table…this is my body given….the breaking of bread.  My blood shed….drinking of wine.  And in the very end, you see that the picture of God’s culmination, restoration of the history is the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Things go wrong through food.  The picture of things being made right is food.  The end of God’s restoration is a feast.  All throughout.  So it shouldn’t surprise us that yeah, something sacred happens around really ordinary tables.

If you have your Bible, turn with me to Luke 7.  As you do that, we’re going to play a little game.  There’s a phrase three times in the Scriptures — The Son of Man came _____________.  Don’t say it out loud, but just think how many of those blanks you could fill in.  Here’s the first time the New Testament uses that phrase.  The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)  Mark is talking about Jesus’s mission; this is why He came….to serve us and to give his life for us.  The second time it’s mentioned is in Luke 19:10.  The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.  This is another retelling of his mission.  Jesus comes on a rescue mission.  Both of these have to do with the REASON Jesus came.  The third time this phrase is mentioned doesn’t have to do with the reason He came, it has to do with the WAY that He came.  Listen to Luke 7:34 — The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”   So the fact that Jesus could be called a glutton, a drunkard, means he didn’t just come sort of dabbling in a meal.  He didn’t come….well, every once in a while I’ll grab a meal.  Jesus was known for feasting.  Jesus was known for the way that he gathered around tables, for the way that he ate.  Of all the ways to come!  He could have come with fanfare; he could have come with angels backing him; he could have come with a legion of angels at his side ready to just wreck shop, whatever he wanted, He’s the Son of God.  And how does he come?   Gathering around tables.  Eating and drinking.  We might say that he was seriously into eating and drinking.

His methodology for the way that he would change the world, for the way that he would bring about the ransom for many and the seeking and the saving of the lost….the way that Jesus did that was a long meal, stretching into the evening, oftentimes with people good Jewish folks would never have associated with….THAT’S where he did his work!  Here’s what Jesus knew…..that the meal, the table, is not simply about consumption, it’s not just about what you take, it also has this very mystical, but real, power, a sacred power, of creation.  {Slide reads:  The table is not simply about consumption, it is also about creation!}  Think about it, we’re all a little bit changed after a meal, aren’t we?  Yeah, some meals we’ve added a few pounds.  Or the conversation changes us just a little bit, so it shouldn’t surprise us that when we pick up the Scriptures, we see Jesus eating ALL the time.

Some have proposed that in Luke’s gospel, Jesus eats his way from one story to the next.  Let me show it to you.  In Luke 5:  Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners at Levi’s house.  In Luke 7: Jesus is anointed at a meal in the home of Simon the Pharisee.  In Luke 9:  Jesus feeds 5,000 people.  In Luke 10:  Jesus eats at Mary and Martha’s house.  Luke 11:  Jesus condemns the Pharisees and teachers of the law at a dinner.  Luke 14:  Jesus is at a meal and urges people to invite the poor rather than just their friends and family.  Luke 19: Jesus invites himself to Zacchaeus’ house.  That’s an awesome passage — Zacchaeus, I’m coming to your house today; hope you got something good.  Luke 22:  We have the Lord’s Supper — His body broken, His blood shed symbolized through bread and wine.  Luke 24:  Jesus, the Risen Christ, has dinner with two disciples in Emmaus and then eats fish with the disciples in Jerusalem.

But this shouldn’t surprise us.  We all know something sacred happens when you gather around a table and look people in the eye and share a meal together.  In fact, we’re just being able to identify this through research.  What they’re showing is that families that eat together have an astounding elevated level of joy and happiness and goodness in their life.  Here’s what they say:  Eating meals as a family together helps kids maintain a healthy body weight, helps them have better quality diets, better eating habits.  As they grow up, they’ll be less likely to use alcohol or drugs.  Teenage girls are less likely to binge, purge, diet or otherwise engage in disordered eating behaviors.  All because of families gathering around the table together.  A recent study even suggested that children who have family meals during which they can talk more as a family have less depressive symptoms.  Some people have suggested you don’t need to be a rock star parent, you just need to eat with your kids.  That was the summary of their findings.  Have a few meals every week together as a family.  But that can be easier said than done, can’t it?  In fact, in the last thirty years, we’ve seen a 33% decline in families who eat meals together.  Over half of the families that still do eat together, do so with the television on.  We have this tension, don’t we? We’re finding out meals have this sacred, beautiful, mystical power and yet, we’re avoiding them maybe more than we ever have before.  I get it!  It’s difficult….to have your whole family in the same place at one point in time is crazy!  I get it, I hear you.  But it seems as though it was important to Jesus, and it seems as though the statistics, the research, is showing it should be important to us as well.  Think about this a second —- Of all the things Jesus could have spent his time doing, he spent it eating.  He spent it drinking.  He spent it around a table.  Why?  Why?

If you have your Bible, we’ll be exploring in Luke 7.  I’m going to read you the story, I’m not going to put all the verses up on the screen, but I want to ask this question:  What is it that the table, not just consumes, but what the table creates?  The platform for the radical gospel is the ordinary table.  Look at the way it happens in Luke 7:36-47 —  When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. {That’s typically how they would eat back in Jesus’s day.  They might have a low little table and sit on the ground.  They would have their knees forward and their feet tucked behind them.}  A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  {Typically, if a famous rabbi would be at a house in your neighborhood, in your area, in your town, word would spread quickly.  Wealthy people, which Pharisee’s typically were, would have had a little courtyard in their home, but guests could sort of look in and see what was going on inside.  But this woman isn’t content to stay there.}  As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears.  Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. {Every commentator that writes about this story says that what this woman did, back in that day, back in that time, typically was only done in bedrooms.  The taking of the hair down.  The anointing and kissing of feet, the wiping of feet.  Only done in very intimate settings.  It would be akin to a pastor sitting at a table and a stripper coming in and starting to do a little bit of a tease.  Just sayin’.  We need to enter in….everybody at this table’s going Jesus, what are you doing?!  Get out of there!!!}  When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”  Jesus answered him, {I just love this turn of phrase.  He thought this and Jesus answered him.  That’s when you know you’re in trouble.} “Simon, I have something to tell you.”  “Tell me, teacher,” he said.  “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender.  One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both.  Now which of them will love him more?”  Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”  “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.  Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?  I came into your house.  You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—-as her great love has shown.  But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”  

One of the fascinating things, as you read through the gospels, that you’ll start to recognize is that “sinful” people were immensely attracted to Jesus.  They just wanted to be around them.  They put themselves in extremely uncomfortable social situations just to get near him.  I think one of the questions I always ask is why does it seem like the opposite happens now?  The church seems to attract religious people, but irreligious people hold a stiff arm to us.  I’m not going to answer this question — Have we gotten part of the message wrong?  What is it about Jesus that drew people in and what is it about the church that pushes people away?  We might have gotten just a little bit of it wrong.

Here’s what the Pharisee says (verse 39) — If you knew, Jesus, if you only knew….you must be ignorant, because if you knew who this woman was, you would have told her to go away.  A central question in Jesus’s day was with whom can I eat?  Eating was a theological statement.  In some ways, it still is today.  Back then it was called “table fellowship,” but we might just call it friendship.  One of the things that happens around the table, one of the sacred things that happens, is that the table extends friendship. {Slide reads:  The table is an extension of friendship.} You share a meal with somebody and it’s like there’s an embodied type of love that’s extended.  Food connects.  It connects family, it connects friends, it connects strangers.  There’s something that happens.  So when Jesus, in verse 34, is accused of being the friend “of tax collectors and sinners,” you can almost imagine him going, “Guilty! I am!”   Luke goes let me tell you a story, let me tell you just how friendly he is to people others would want to put a stiff arm to.  Being welcomed at a table for the purpose of eating food with another person is symbolic of friendship, of intimacy, and of unity.  I love the way Robert Karris puts it:  “In Luke’s gospel, Jesus got himself killed because of the way he ate.”

I think that same power, the power of the table that we see in the life of Jesus exists today, too.  Let me give you just two things that happen when you gather around a table.  Number one — The table has the ability to transform issues into people.  It’s easy to have an idea about somebody….about their race, about their sexual persuasion, or whatever.  But when you get across the table from somebody and start to look them in the eye, and you start to see that they eat the same way you do, and that they have the same type of things going on in their soul that you do….there’s something that’s transformed in us.  That’s why Jesus asked the Pharisees at this dinner, “Do you SEE this woman?  Do you SEE her?”  Not do you see the issue.  Not do you see the fact that she’s probably the town prostitute, that her life is an absolute mess, that she’s “dirty.”  Not all that!  Not do you see her issues….do you SEE HER?  Because if you see her things start to change.  You start to see faces and stories instead of issues and policies.

I read a story on NPR, recently, about a man by the name of Daryl Davis.  Daryl’s a blues artist, but for the last thirty years he’s had this sort of side hobby.    For the last thirty years, he’s been meeting with Ku Klux Klan members.  Listen to what he said in this interview:  Once the friendship blossoms, the Klansmen realize their hate may be misguided.  Since Davis started talking with these members, over 200 Klansmen have given up their robes.  When that takes place, Davis collects the robes and keeps them in his home as a reminder of the dent he has made in racism.  Here’s what he says — “By simply sitting down and having dinner with people.”  Maybe before we decide how we feel about an issue, we should ask “Do we know anyone in that camp?”  It might change the way that we see things. We start to see where people are coming from, the experiences that shaped them, and maybe, just maybe, we’re not all that different.

Here’s the other thing Jesus does as he sits down around tables.  It’s not just an extension of friendship, it’s an extension of social justice.  It’s him saying I’m unwilling to let this road go, divided as it is.  It’s why in Luke 14:12-14, Jesus says to the host of a dinner he’s been invited to:  When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so your will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.  Look up at me a minute.  Jesus is breaking down walls as he gathers around tables.  That’s what he’s doing.  He’s embodying the justice that God longs to extend to his world.  I love the way that Ed Loring, one of the founders of Open Door Community in Atlanta, said it:  “Justice is important, but supper is essential.”  It’s no coincidence, you guys, as you read through the book of Acts, you get to Acts 10-11, and before the gospel can be taken to the Gentile world, the Jewish people must change the way they eat.  They have to, because so much that’s sacred happens around the table.

In Luke 7:36, the story starts out like this.  Notice if you see a theme.  When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  Luke wants us to get that the person hosting this party is a Pharisee.  Pharisees, back in Jesus’s day, were a reaction to a sellout by the Jewish people.  Roughly 200 years before Jesus is on the scene, the Hellenization of the Jewish people has started.  There were a number of Jewish leaders who sort of sold out and instead of holding true to Yahweh as the One True God, they started to make sacrifices to the pantheon of Greek gods.  They adopted the Greek customs.  In reaction, the pendulum swings the other way and you have the Pharisees.  They called people out.  They called people to evaluate their holiness, and their holiness was always measured by how far we can keep ourselves from those people who aren’t quite right.  Our holiness is directly tied to our distance from the dirtiness.  That’s what they believed.  And they believed that only when they were perfectly pure, THEN their Messiah would come.  The Pharisees believed that the table in their homes was sort of a surrogate altar to the Lord’s altar in the temple, therefore, whoever they ate with had to be perfectly clean.  Enter the woman in the story.  She’s not just pushing back against the social customs of the day, she’s potentially driving a wedge between them and God.  She’s making it so that God won’t come back and be the Messiah and rescue the nation of Israel.  She’s making it so they can’t “have a relationship with God,” at least the way that they thought they would because holiness and relationship is defined by distance from sin.  When Jesus sits down to the table, he’s not only breaking down walls, he’s destroying misconceptions about who God is, and about what God is like, and about what God asks of his people.

At the end of this story, we see Jesus say to her:  Your sins are forgiven. (Luke 7:48)  It’s the same thing he says to people at the end of Luke 5:32 — I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.  He’s going I am up to something and it’s not about how clean you can get; it’s about how holy I am, and in coming close to you in my holiness, I don’t get dirty, I make you clean.  It’s about Jesus embodying grace.  It all happens around a table.  {Slide reads:  The table is an embodiment conduit of grace.}

What we see around tables, all throughout the Scriptures, is that Jesus makes this point:  God’s holiness works from the inside out, not the outside in.  It’s not how holy we can be.  In fact, in Mark 7:1-5; 17-19, there’s this story about Jesus and his disciples sitting down to eat a meal. The Jewish people had all sorts of customs—they would wash their hands, get ready to eat, make sure the food was all clean.  Jesus’s disciples just went and sat down at the meal.  They don’t play the game.  They don’t wash their hands.  It reminds me of my dinner table….almost every night!  We pray together as a family.  I have my two boys on each side of me and 9 times out of 10, I hold their hands and I think to myself, “You haven’t washed your hands in days!”  We say amen and I tell them to go wash their hands because they’re grimy, filthy.  Jesus is like double-down yes!  Yes and amen!  My disciples have dirty hands and they’re making a point.  The point is you cannot achieve cleanliness in relationship to God, you have got to receive it from Him.  You don’t work your way to Him, you open yourself to receive grace from Him.  That’s what Jesus does at the table.  It’s an embodiment of grace.

When he says, “Woman, your sins are forgiven,” (v. 48) it’s not because of anything she did.  It’s not because she was amazing, it’s simply that she knew the love that had been extended to her and she received it as her own.  That’s it!  What we see from this story is that grace can’t be integrated with self-righteousness, self-importance, or just a little bit of chest beating and I’m good.  No!  The scandal of grace is that if you’ve been working hard to make yourself right with God, {look up at me} you’ve been wasting your time!  Because you can’t earn grace, you can only receive it.

There’s something unique that happens when people sit across the table from each other…they start to be more and more open to who God is and to what God’s doing.  So it’s no coincidence the story ends with “your sins are forgiven.”  He calls her to go in peace.  It’s not hey, let’s sing Kumbaya, and what you’ve been doing is okay.  No, no, no.  Grace confronts.  Grace confronts both our failure and grace confronts our pride.  It does not leave us in the same place.  It always calls us forward, because God righteously hates the fact that sin has fractured the shalom that He created us to live in.  So he heals and he calls us forward.

Notice, all of this happens at a table.  Not in a synagogue.  Not in a church building.  Not through wonderful, eloquent preaching—-although that’s important.  You can read the Sermon on the Mount and the book of Acts, but that’s not where this transformation takes place.  It takes place around a table.  Catch this—The early church and Jesus did not run programs.  They didn’t do ministries.  They didn’t have programs.  They weren’t polished and have everything all together.  Here’s their methodology:  Let’s eat together, and let’s talk about life, and let’s share our lives together, and let’s be honest before God and each other.  Something sacred might just happen at a real ordinary table.  Because hospitality at it’s core is simply creating space for God to move and God to change us and God to invite us to something new.  It’s where Levi heard and responded to the call of discipleship.  It’s where this woman receives forgiveness and healing.  It’s where Jesus reframed what it mean to be holy.  I love the way this author, Jim Petersen, put it: “I know of no more effective environment for initiating evangelism than a dinner at home or in a quiet restaurant.”

Maybe it’s because eating at it’s core is a sacred act.  There’s something spiritual that goes on there.  There’s something physical that goes on there too.  Eating staves off death.  Have you ever recognized that?  Every time you sit down, you say to death, “Not today, no, thank you.”  You can only live roughly forty days without food, about three days without water….plus or minus on each end.  Every time you sit down to eat, well, you’re solving a problem.  You’d die if you didn’t.  But think about this also….every time you sit down to eat, there’s something on the plate on the table in front of you that at one point was alive.  I can remember when I took a group of college students to the mountains in Mexico.  The village that welcomed us, in honor of our being there, slaughtered a goat.  Right in front of the students.  They were like, “Oh my gosh!  The goat was once alive and now he’s dead and we’re going to eat him?!”  They’re shocked by this and I’m like “What is wrong with you people?!  Have you ever enjoyed a steak or hamburger?  Where do you think that comes from?”  We’re so disconnected from our food sources today, we have no clue where our food even comes from.  But whatever it was that was on your plate—whether it’s a grain or a fruit or a vegetable or an animal—at one point, it was alive. It died so that you won’t.

So think about this: Every time we sit down to eat a meal, as followers of Jesus, we’re retelling the story that we find ourselves in.  In order for us to have life, the God of the universe came down and gave His.  Died, so that we might know what it means to really, truly live.  The reality, friends, is that the table is an enactment also.  Not just of friendship and not just of grace, but of promise.  {Slide reads: The table is an enactment of promise.}  I think it’s why, when the disciples followed Jesus back to Emmaus and he sits down and he takes bread and he breaks it, their eyes are finally opened.  Oh my goodness, this is the Messiah!  I think it’s why we read here (Luke 7:50) — Your faith has saved you; go in peace.  It’s this picture of the promise of what God is doing in His incarnation, in the giving of His life so that we might have life.

This is such a great phrase:  Your faith {your trust} has saved you {healed you, restored you}; go in peace.  Peace means the bringing back together of frayed edges.  So if you put it all together, here’s how it might read, as Jesus says to this woman:  The love that you know because of the forgiveness you’ve received has resulted in a trust of Jesus, and that trust heals your brokenness and repairs the frayed edges of your life, turning them into a beautiful mosaic of God’s grace.  And all of this….all of this….happens at a meal, because as Tim Chester said in his great book, Meals With Jesus:  “Meals were about something bigger.  They represented a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook.  But they gave that new reality substance.”

So it shouldn’t surprise us that when the early church, after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, starts to develop their rule of life (how they do life together), one of the things they include from the get-go……oh yeah, yeah, yeah, we gather in the temple courts, we gather for teaching.  We meet together because big groups is important.  Teaching is important.  Worshipping together is important.  Fellowship together is important.  But it’s not where it ends.  They also broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46-47) 

Something sacred happens around the table.  The table, the meal, is NOT just about consumption.  It’s also about creation.  I love the way Francis Schaeffer, the founder of L’Abri Fellowship, put it:  “Don’t start with a big program.  Don’t suddenly think that you can add to your church budget and begin.  Start personally and start in your home.  I dare you.  I dare you in the name of Jesus Christ. {Don’t you love that?  I dare you, South Fellowship Church.  I double-dog dare you!}  Do what I am going to suggest.  Begin by opening your home to community.  You don’t need a big program.  You don’t have to convince your board.  All you have to do is open your home and begin.  And there is no place in God’s world where there are no people who will come and share a home as long as it’s a real home.”  I love that!

You may not be in a place where you can open your home, but, man, right after church you can ask somebody if they want to go and grab lunch.  You can meet somebody at a restaurant, somebody at a coffee shop.  It doesn’t really matter where it is.  When you gather with people, friendship’s extended, grace is embodied, and a promise is retold.  I pray that we would become the kind of church, more and more, that lives this out.  Maybe this week, you do the block map we’ve included for the last few weeks.  Or prayer walk your neighborhood, and as you do so, just be open to God inviting you to have conversations with people.  Maybe this week you have somebody over for a meal, or you meet somebody for a cup of coffee, or you meet them at a restaurant; it’s about creating space in your life and in your heart for people.  Maybe you serve a meal at Family Promise. {We’re hosting Family Promise again in October and we provide dinners for the families every night.}  If you want a little film and theology project, I’d encourage you to rent Babette’s Feast, 1987 film.  It has subtitles—just a warning.  It is a beautiful story about the power of food, and grace, and friendship, and life.  {Ryan hands out conversation starters.}

Would you stand with me, Church?  What if…what if…what if an ordinary table with ordinary food became a sacred tool in the hands of God?  Would you live this out?  I don’t know what’s going to happen with my friend Muhammad and I.  I do know that we’re going to get together again for lunch, and my prayer is that our table would turn into an altar and that eventually he would start to see who Jesus is and the love that Jesus has for him.

So Jesus, as we follow in your way with your heart, would you help us to be people who open not just our homes, but our lives, and who see you work mightily through ordinary things.  Like a meal.  Like you always have.  It’s in your name we pray.  Amen.