During the Month of August, our scriptures and my sermons will be on the theme of “A Place at the Table”. This series will explore several sections of the Great Thanksgiving Liturgy that is used when we have communion. I will be choosing scripture lessons that focus on that theme. Here are the four parts of the sermon series:
August 4 – “Setting the Table”
August 11 – “Invitation to the Table”
August 18 – “Blessing the Table”
August 25 – “Extending the Table”
The scripture I have chosen for this week are:
1 Corinthian 10:16-17 – These two verses will be read each week during the series. They are a little bit out of context when read alone but they do focus us on the idea that together we are the body of Christ. In context, it is all about not worshiping or following idols. Paul states that we cannot in full conscience eat at the table of the Lord while we feast at the table of idols. What are today’s idols? Money? Status? Power? What keeps us from fully following Jesus? Paul deals with the troubles of the church in Corinth when it comes to table fellowship at chapter 11:17-34.
Luke 22:7-13 – For four day, beginning with his entrance into Jerusalem, Jesus taught at the temple and engaged his critics with parables and questions. On the day of Passover Jesus sends Peter and John to secure and prepare a room for the celebration. Luke does not give us any details of how they prepared the room to receive Christ, the other disciples and other followers. We can only imagine: tables and lounging mats to be placed in the room; food to be prepared (leg of lamb, herbs, flat bread, etc.); a foot washing basin; a hand washing basin; etc. How do we prepare the table? How do we prepare ourselves to receive the gift of bread and wine?
During August, I will not neglect the Lectionary Readings and I invite you to continue reading them.
Hosea 11:1-11 – You may as well read verse 12 which ends the chapter. After reciting the ways in which God has led Israel and how they constantly turn away, God decides that abandoning Israel is not his way. I think that the key verse here is verse 9. This represents a major shift in the ancient understanding of the nature of God. Mortals use violence and wrath but God is not mortal and is, therefore, not wrathful.
Psalm 107:1-9, 43 – The psalmist recited the many times that God has brought Israel through their troubles. He concludes, “Let those who are wise give heed to these things, and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23 – “All is vanity.” The Teacher notes that all the things that humans do is in vain like chasing after the wind. What do we get for all the work we do? Absolutely nothing: days full of pain, vexing work, restless nights. Overall, the book of Ecclesiastes is quite a downer.
Psalm 49:1-12 – What will the accumulation of wealth get us? In the end, nothing. A very apt Psalm to go along with Ecclesiastes.
Colossians 3:1-11 – What does it mean to live life in Christ? To begin, Paul says we are to set our mind on Christ, on the things above. As is typical for Paul, he starts by telling the church, and us, what not to do: actions that hurt others and hurt ourselves. Using a metaphor of clothing Paul say that in accepting Christ we have taken off the old clothes of worldly pleasure and put on the new clothes of Christ. In this new way, all the differences that humans use to hurt others are no longer valid. (Note, while Paul drops the “male and female” difference here, it is included in a similar passage at Galatians 3:28.)
Luke 12:13-21 – Be on guard against all kinds of greed! Did you ever thing there were different kinds of greed? Isn’t greed just greed? Greed for money, for things, for power, for influence, for social position; aren’t they all just the same thing? What does greed do? It interferes with relationships. What if the man in the parable used his excess to help the poor and hungry instead of hoarding it all? Would his relationship with his community have been better?
Have a great week serving the Lord in all you do!
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor