Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Coming to the Table

Guest Post by my friend, Sharifa Stevens

(Originally posted HERE at Manna Express Online)

Tis the season of family meals. The glorious bounty of Thanksgiving reminds us to be marked by gratitude. Christmas Day is a commemoration of our Savior’s humble birth and extravagant love. New Year’s Eve is a time of optimism and reflection. We celebrate this season by dining at the table, surrounded by friends and family, united in gratitude and celebration.

There’s one more Table I would like us to remember. This Table unites us, as siblings, in our brokenness, and in our sanctification. We are a family as we partake at the Table.
Right now we sit awkwardly at the same banquet, feuding siblings with a feast before us; the Table of communion, to eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of the One who died for us.

Perhaps a reintroduction is in order. Remember me? I am your sister. You are my brother. We have been at odds because an election cycle knocked us both into a carnal pit to brawl over which political party had the most excellent way.

I called you a bigot, an elitist, one who longed for bygone days, and would do anything to keep your desperate hold of the reins of power.

You called me entitled, a taker. You said I wanted more welfare and free gifts, even if I put the country in vacuous debt.

Good times.

So here we are, battered, apprehensive, and angry. The Table will not be fractured, no matter how great our desire to secede from one another. Jesus prayed, right before He broke bread at this Table, right before He gave up His life, that we would be renowned for our love for one another. Our unity would be a signpost. Our love, an arrow pointing straight to Christ.

The Table will not be fractured.

This Table of communion represents our hunger for salvation, sated. Our shame, covered. We would not dine here if we were in any way sufficient in ourselves.

We are broken, fallible. We make mistakes. We are willful. We desire our own way. All of us.
We are also adopted sons and daughters, given a rich inheritance, sealed by the Holy Spirit. Our Father is the Lord. We have been washed, we are new, we are being made new.

We have some decisions to make. We can leave the Table and put our faith in someone or something else. We can attempt to ignore each other, eat and drink condemnation on ourselves and ponder what our discipline will be.

Or you and I can look each other in the eye and talk like brothers and sisters ought to. Sure, we will fight; family fight sometimes. But when we live in the same household, we work toward resolution. Our voices sound gentler. Our goal becomes God-honoring peace. People who share a common name are less likely to try to slander it. We share the same Name.

This is a pivotal time in our family history. We can tear each other apart for tabloid amusement and short-term satisfaction, or we can dumbfound the world by coming back to the Table--together--buoyed by Spirit-filled resilience, humility, and a desire to put the shine in Jesus’ glorious name.

Aren’t you hungry for more? For that more excellent way that we sought and could not find this past November?

I know I am. Let’s eat.

Sharifa Stevens is a wife and mother, singer, and writer. She earned a B.A. from Columbia University and a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. She lives in Dallas, TX.