Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Place at the Table

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

The Lord says, "Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good." - Isaiah 55:2

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. John 6:27

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 113; 1 Samuel 19:8-20:17; John 4:27-38

Isaiah and both passages from John use the image of satisfying food as a metaphor for the true sustenance that comes from God. All throughout scripture, eating and drinking are connected with God's blessings. The vineyard is a symbol of the growth and fruitfulness of God's people; the banquet table represents the celebration of God's love and grace with all creation forever. In today's passages, we're consistently told that our place at God's table is a gift of grace. It is so precious we could never earn it, and yet it's ours freely because of God's love. We're also told that there is a choice in life: Where will we look for our food and drink? There are all kinds of other possibilities, which require our effort and expense - but they can't truly satisfy our hunger and thirst like God's grace can.

For me, this morning, I'm realizing that this daily time of scripture and prayer is like sitting at God's banquet table. It doesn't take long. And it's the richest part of me day. It keeps me centered, closer to God, remembering who I am, and whose I am, and what I'm a part of, and why I do what I do. It often leads to peace and small or large surprises of joy or insight. This time with God is the energy and foundation for everything else I'll do for the rest of the day. It's blatantly obvious that this is the very best way for me to spend half an hour or so of my time! And yet ... it's so easy to drift away from this habit and spend even more time on mundane things that bring a lot less into my life.

Isaiah asks an important question: Why do we do this? Do we want to be in control, determining for ourselves what we'll do, and how we'll pay for it? Do we put ourselves and our abilities above God, making idols for ourselves? Are we just slow learners? It's worth some time to ponder: Why do I do this? What are my weaknesses in choosing wisely? Where am I losing track of the great value of God's free gift, and turning my back and running after something much less worthy?

But more important than the question, or my individual answer to it, is the persistent invitation from God that comes before and after the question: Come! Receive! Listen! Eat! See! Believe! Live! God doesn't demand that we figure it all out, or get everything right. A place at the table is already set for each of us. Thank you, God! Let me pull up my chair, and sit with you a while, and be satisfied.

No comments:

Post a Comment