Sunday, 15 July 2007

IFES World Assembly: Fellowship at the table

Ziel Machado - Luke 22.7-30

What makes a simple act a historic event? As a student Ziel said this was always being discussed, but they ignored the routine and small things.

1) At the table: inclusion of sinners in the salvation community
Jesus is in a routine situation - a meal. But Jesus throughout his life used meals to express God's mission. Looking ahead to the fulness of the kingdom - including sinners in the community of salvation. Eating together is a serious business. He ate with marginalised, with religiously unaccepted. Luke 7.34, 47-5; ch 14, ch 19. Jesus walks these 2 emphases together - hospitality & salvation. Be hospitable to those who can't repay and be recompensed in heaven. We can continue to practise Jesus' work in daily routine. Meals are natural settings for communicating the social implications of the gospel. Separating evangelism and hospitality damages our evangelism, in a world which hungers for community.

There are expressions of hostility in our world, which lead to segregation. Our missionary initiatives should show a community of salvatoin looking out to include the lost. The language and scene should correspond. Christ also lived in a hostile world but without sin and without relativising his demands.

2. At the table: eschatological meals, anticipating celebration (vv.14-27)
Passover meal - he'd given his disciples much teaching, but here he gives them a ritual to live it by, to see what's happening. Allows me to live it although its beyond my understanding, and although perhaps my emotions aren't consistent with it.

So Jesus looks to undergo his exodus and undertakes our liberationfrom darkness. We have a connection between sacrifice and divine covenant. Link forward to kingdom of God also, and its fulfilment in kingdom of God. Bigger liberation, from sin and death.

This project of God for salvation is presented to us with particular and universal elements. Jesus is the Saviour for all in all times and places. Some are invited to the table and we await the full thing. In our evangelism when we come to this Lord's Supper, should we not have been at other tables first?

3. At the table: an expression of the mission and message of Jesus.
The disciples' concern, "Who is greatest?" doesn't fit with this table. We're at table, not at desk. Community in Jesus with with solidarity, fellowship. But around a desk we're using the logic of merit, power - not service. Logic of power generates intrigue, inhibitibg our obedience. Moved by merit we're disconnected from the logic of the kingdom of God. The table demands the conversion of power into service - Jesus says, "May it not be so among you." Being at table with Jesus is the proclamation of the time of salvation.

How much is my missionary practice marked by hospitality like Jesus?
Are our tables all evangelical subculture, or inviting different people?

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