Fast food…junk food…restaurant chains…microwavable meals…”nutrition bars”…processed food…tv trays…even airport vending machines. America in the 21st century has so many ways to feed the cravings of our taste buds, but with every new “convenience” we drift further and further from the kind of table fellowship that Jesus so often enjoyed.
To be invited to dinner in Jesus’ day meant so much more than an occasion for grabbing a bite of food. The table was a place where people gathered together. To dine at table was to know one another communally— to give and receive through, dialogue, sharing, thanksgiving, celebration, confession, and expressions of care and hospitality. The dinner table was a place for religious leaders, philosophers and teachers to give instruction, and a place for social, religious and economic norms were affirmed.
And so with Jesus, the table also became a place where the values of his Kingdom could be shared and demonstrated again and again. Jesus has a word in today’s lesson for both those hosts and guests — and for all us — at the heavenly banquet: it's time to learn some new table manners.