Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The radical subversiveness of the common meal...

"Open commensality was a similarly radical rejection of class and status. The gospels reveal the horror Jesus’ contemporaries felt, seeing Jesus eating with the poor. He commanded his followers to do the same (Luke 14:12). The meal was the single most important theater for Romans to assert the realities of class and status. Mingling persons of differing classes at the same table for a meal was a radical rejection of the very notion of class and status the likes of which has no clear modern analogy".(www.anthropik.com)"Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.” -Luke 14:12-14

Most people would never think that an invitation to dinner could be considered a subversive act. Who would of dreamed that generosity would undermine the very societal structures of the culture or kingdom. But that is exactly what the radical inclusiveness and hospitality of Jesus sets in motion.

Daniel prophesied about this conquering and subversive kingdom that would come: "While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth." (Daniel 2:34-35)He just didn't know it would strike using bread, fish and...salad!

When we are serving meals on Tuesday, we are confronting the very powers that seek to weave chains of racial, economic and dead religious bondage. We confront the systems of this world that divide, ostracize, oppress, ignore and mock the very people Christ called most blessed...the poor. When we all recognize our own poverty and join one another around a common meal, we take part in the total deconstruction of the kingdoms of this world...crumbling kingdoms, that stand in opposition to the ever growing kingdom of God.

Making salad...now feels kind of naughty.
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