All Are Welcome

Sunday, September 1

9-1By Jim Poirier, Presiding Bishopric

“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor…go and sit down at the lowest place…For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

—Luke 14:8, 10–14

Much of who I am and what I do I learned around the table of my grandmother.  She was of Italian American descent. She invited and welcomed everyone at her table. There was always more than enough food to go around no matter how many showed up. We greeted each first with a smile that said, “Welcome to our table…we are so happy that you joined us.” It was there that I learned the value of gathering at the table. There were lively discussions but most of all there was joy and laughter. No matter what problems you carried to that table, they were lessened by the time you left.

And so when you come to my house today, we will welcome you at a large kitchen table where we will feed you, laugh with you, where you will feel free to smile. You will learn that others are welcome at our table too.

In my office there is a print of a painting entitled “the Trinity.” Andrei Rublev painted it in the fifteenth century. It is a story of three wanders who visited Abraham and found hospitality. The story is from Genesis 18:1–8. Abraham welcomed the guests and gave the best of what he had. There are three personages sitting around a table. The empty place at the front of the table is where the artist invites the viewer to sit. This painting reminds me I am to welcome everyone at the table because my grandmother wouldn’t have it any other way. Let us remember to not only invite, but bring out our very best and add to the blessings of community.

Prayer for Peace
Host of the universe, may we share your hospitality with all we meet. May we always invite people to the table and to Christ.

Spiritual Practice: Welcoming Unity in Diversity
Meditate on Unity in Diversity. Create a large circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace represented by this circle.

Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Confess the dividing walls between you and people too different or “dangerous” to invite into your spiritual home. Ask God to forgive and heal barriers that keep you and others from being one in Christ’s peace.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, my door, my table, and my heart will be open to all.

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