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CALL : +685 24414
FAX 20429
5th Floor John Williams Building
Tamaligi, Apia

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Friday 22 January
The wrong dinner companions

 

 

Read Mark 2:13–22

When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax-collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with taxcollectors and sinners?’ (verse 16)

 

Eating out alone is a challenge for me. I feel so exposed to scrutiny. Too much food on my fork? A splash on the tablecloth? A struggle with the peas? I always try to have a book with me so that I can hide my fears that I might not do it right.

 

Whom we choose to share table with is also revealing, as Jesus found when he accepted dinner invitations from people not considered respectable enough to be eating companions. The custom of his time would be to gather around a set of communal dishes which each would help themselves from, or dip their accompanying bread into to scoop up some of the contents. This makes eating together a very intimate experience and an obvious thing to avoid with people who fail the purity code: those who are soiling their hands with the taxes of the occupying power, or those whose bodies are soiled with the impact of sin.

 

But to eat alongside someone is to show them that you trust them enough to risk the embarrassment of a misplaced mouthful and to share food with them is to give them the gift of your fellowship in the common dish. Jesus was always looking for opportunities to get close to people in the minutiae of daily life. In the give and take of a shared meal is the honesty and welcome of the life in the kingdom of God; where the outsider can find a place at the table without embarrassment and find some bread to share.

 

† Generous God, enlarge our tables to include those who must otherwise eat alone. Show us how to include those who are never invited and fill our private dishes with enough for sharing.Amen