Gathering a group of people together that have different backgrounds, faces, socioeconomic classes, races, and beliefs for a meal is what I got to see happen this past Sunday night. I was asked to help prepare a meal for the closing scene of an upcoming movie “Praying the Hours”.
There were children present at this meal, running around, playing tag, and enjoying time together. Picking some food off their plates, but mainly trying to dare one another to steal a bite of the decadent looking desserts. Their joy was infectious and helped those of us working to remember to take joy in the work that we were doing that night: creating a safe space.
The writer writes about those who cause children to stumble, should then suffer. They should be punished. Jesus has a child sitting on his lap and reminds the child and the crowd of people listening, ”that whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in [Jesus’] name welcomes [him].” (Matthew 18:4-5)
I write with a heavy heart today. The gathering that I experienced on Sunday was staged for a movie and is not a reality. I can’t help but pray that the dinner I witnessed is what God has envisioned for us to create here on Earth: To welcome all kinds of people to the gathering (of course with unlimited seating). Some of those in the church and in non-profit organizations forget that there are actually unlimited seats at God’s table. God’s gatherings are not for just the rich, wealthy, and loud mouthed, but also for those with different backgrounds, races, religions, sexual orientation and those who truly suffer.
I write to remind you to open up your table and gatherings to all. Don’t exclude those who look or may be different, we all need food to survive. We have the ability to gather strangers to then become a family.