Those Two Wonderful Words: You’re Invited

a-place

Wounded and forsaken, I was shattered by the fall.
Broken and forgotten, feeling lost and all alone.
Summoned by the King into the Master’s courts.
Lifted by the Savior and cradled in His arms.
Fighting thoughts of fear and wondering why He called my name.
Am I good enough to share this cup?
This world has left me lame.
Even in my weakness, the Savior called my name.
In His Holy presence, I’m healed and unashamed.

I was carried to the table, seated where I don’t belong.
Carried to the table, swept away by His love.
And I don’t see my brokenness anymore, when I’m seated at the table of the Lord.
I’m carried to the table, the table of the Lord.

In the 2nd book of Samuel we read that David asked the question “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” That question seriously jabbed me when I read it again this morning. I can’t fully express in a blog post what it revealed about me … I was convicted and challenged. All I could hear in my soul over and over again was that question. Is there anyone around me, that I may show them kindness for Jesus’ sake?

The story of Mephibosheth is so moving that it almost takes my breath away. I’m not exaggerating.

Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel.
And Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and paid homage. And David said, “Mephibosheth!” And he answered, “Behold, I am your servant.” And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.

So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table.
Now he was lame in both his feet.

For me, the picture of the table gathering brings so much emotion for so many reasons. Our family kitchen/dining table has always been place of conversation, of laughter, of intensity, of sharing, and of grace. I’m actually sitting at the table even now as I type. And though I’m sitting alone this morning, I don’t feel lonely. My mind scrolls through the faces of those who’ve sat around the table with me. The very same table may have not occupied the very same kitchen all through the years, but all the evidences of the same grace came flooding into my heart. It really isn’t about the table at all. It’s the thought of all those who have sat around it. So many stories belong to the people who’ve been seated at our table. If I listen closely, I can hear the echoes of my girls excitedly all talking at once. Or Brent sharing something profound. Or Josh’s simple and sincere blessing before the meal. It doesn’t take much effort at all to see, sitting across from me, a light-brown-skinned little fella with hardly any communication skills, grinning at me while he’s eating his cheese toast. The sound is a little faint because I miss them so much, but I also hear the voices of little boys arguing with each other and laughing at and with each other. Around our table have sat sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles and grandparents and friends; and most recently our grandchildren. All of these people – different backgrounds, different races, different beliefs – have been brought together at a table, enjoying the community gathered there.
These moments are the ones a mama ponders often.

BUT … before all these moments was the call, the plea, for them to come. Come to the table, y’all.
(BTW, I’m still blessed to be able to be in their homes and hear those words when my mom or mom-in-love call us to the table. And I don’t take that gift for granted!) It really is an amazing word, isn’t it: Come.

There are so many things that hinder us from calling out to the people around us to come. Instead of recognizing all that has been given to us by God’s grace, we determine that some people don’t deserve our loving invitation. As the carriers of Hope, we must not allow the ethnicity or culture or even the sinful habits of others to keep us from inviting them to the table of God’s mercy. Today I am so full of joy and awe at the thought of God’s merciful invitation. The story of Mephibosheth is my story! Being invited to the table of the Father evokes such deep appreciation in me. To think that I – an enemy, an outcast, a cripple – is invited to sit at His table. Owen Strachan said that in this story we see a picture of Christian grace (the undeserving being saved), a portrait of Christian ethics (the weak having dignity and worth), and a demonstration of the kingdom (the king’s enemy eating at the king’s table). I’m overwhelmed that I have a place at God’s table of grace today and every day.
God, Your table is never full. Please keep me aware of those who need an invitation to draw near and find a seat. 

The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend – the agonies of Calvary.
You, the perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son who drank the bitter cup reserved for me.
By Your perfect sacrifice I’ve been brought near.
Your enemy You’ve made Your friend.
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace, Your mercy and Your kindness know no end.
Your blood has washed away my sin.
Jesus, thank You.
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied.
Jesus, thank You.
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table.

Jesus, thank You!

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