Around the Table-
In my early years in Savannah, Georgia I lived at the end of a cul-de-sac. The beauty of this spot in the neighborhood was that all the kids would come to the end of the cul-de-sac to play around the circle. This space would become a basketball court, a hockey rink, and a racetrack for big wheels and bikes. After long days of playing outside whenever lunchtime hit everybody would run into our house to grab a snack. It did not matter where you came from, if we knew you, your age, or even how you smelled after a morning of play in the humid south. Everyone was invited to gather around the table or counter while Mom passed out juice boxes, crackers, sandwiches, and whatever else we could scrounge up. At lunchtime, we gathered around the table with whomever the good Lord brought to the end of the cul-de-sac.
Throughout the Scriptures, we see Jesus eating with whomever has been brought to the table. Jesus is known for eating with women, tax collectors, sinners, and all types of personalities. This week in worship, we will focus on the Passover meal where Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper. Again, Jesus is gathered around the table with his best friends as well as those who will soon deny and betray him. Yet Jesus still offers himself and his forgiveness to those gathered around the table. This Sunday, we will examine how the table of the Lord shapes us as a community of love and forgiveness for all who are gathered. I look forward to dining with you on Sunday at worship!
Rev. Colin Snider
The Heart Of The Matter
You can find theology and theologians in the most interesting of places. “God talk” and “God talkers” are all around; you simply need to listen for it and look for them.
Take Don Henley, for example. He’s a singer/song writer who is a member of the Eagles. I don’t know if he considers himself a theologian. I do know that he is a poet and, because, he’s a poet he gives voice to a depth of things that we all believe to be true but can’t find the words for ourselves.
One of his songs (from the long ago Dark Ages of the early 1990s) is a song entitled “The Heart of the Matter.” It’s a song about learning that a former love has found someone new. Henley writes about the pain of that discovery and the deeper truth that it leads to. In the second stanza, he writes (along with the refrain):
“…these times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
…And the more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I’d figured out
I have to learn again
I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it’s about…forgiveness…..”
“It’s about forgiveness…” It is. It’s all about forgiveness. There is a scene in the Gospel of John that looks as if it may have been a later addendum to the gospel, but it’s there. The resurrected Christ is having breakfast on the beach with the disciples and three times he asks Peter, who denied him three times, “Do you love me?” It’s about forgiveness and reconciliation. It is the heart of the matter, the heart of grace, the heart of our faith.
We’ll talk about that Sunday as we conclude our summer sermon series “Up at the Mountains and Down at the Coast.” You may want to read John 21:1-19 in preparation. Our Appalachian Service Project Team will be helping lead worship and reporting to us on their mission.
Take a minute between now and Sunday. Pray about forgiveness – those whom you need to forgive and those from whom you need to ask forgiveness. Then, join us for “Breakfast on the Beach” and we’ll get down to the heart of the matter.
Grace and peace to you.