in·clud·ed in ‘ kloo-did/
The official family tree included everyone in the entire congregation—their small children, wives, sons, and daughters. The ardent dedication they showed in bringing themselves and their gifts to worship was total—no one was left out.
There is room at the table.
Who among us hasn’t experienced intense loneliness even in a crowd? Who hasn’t peeked in to some one else’s life via social media in these minute-by-minute times, or on a blog (even like mine, heaven forbid) we see pictures of celebrations, read family stories and see moments of glory (the only ones we generally share) – and felt left out, experienced longing to be a part, to get to have a seat at that table?
That’s why I love the picture of the Good Shepherd preparing a table before us (Psalm 23). In these days leading to the Thanksgiving celebration, as I ponder how to situate for 30 people I wholly adore, I cannot quit thinking about the joy the Father must have to invite us to be seated with Him. Ephesians says we’re accepted in the Beloved, His sacrifice bought our ticket to be included in the family – a chair at the table awaits.
I sense God’s great love in extending Himself to us, an invitation written in blood. And though we have so often ignored His pursuit, chasing after our own list of dreams and desires and for acceptance in places that will never satisfy our deepest heart’s desires, He prepares a table before us – He raises us up and seats us with Him (Eph. 2.6). In heavenly places – now that is a place of honor, a major party where you’re a treasured guest!
Something about the thought of it – the table, all set in loving anticipation, is just stirring in my heart. I have let the sacredness of a regular shared meal, in these crazy-busy days, the invitation for dinner to people I don’t know that well just pass by. But I hear God calling me back to a time I wholly practiced the beauty of the sharing of a regular supper. Oh good grief, He is killing me. I am too old to think of fixing big meals again, right? Yet, I want to reflect the heart of God, on earth as it is in heaven, as He prepares for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It’s a big deal.
I am picking up my library-borrowed copy of Shauna Niequest’s Bread and Wine today. SO looking forward to it. I have a feeling you’ll be hearing more about the family-table from me because this 1 minute and 52 seconds of video just fired. me. up!
1 John 1.4 Amplified
And we are now writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be full [and your joy may be complete].
We have not been excluded from the festivities. We are accepted and beloved. Let’s share that amazing joy!