November 29, 2009

Carried to the Table

This morning we sang a song in our worship service called Carried to the Table. It's originally by a band called Leeland.

I love this band and I especially love this song. But this morning as we sang it, I couldn't help but feel like we were just playing lip service. Actually, I should only speak for myself because I have no idea what was going on in the hearts of the people around me.

The song speaks of our brokenness and lostness. Essentially, through Christ we're carried in our spiritual handicap and seated at a table of royalty and wholeness, a place we would never naturally belong.

But the lyrics that particularly struck me today were these:

Carried to the table
Seated where I don't belong


I was pierced today because it hit me that my problem, and, at times, the church's problem, is that we think we do belong. We think we're seated exactly where we deserve to be, at this table of royalty.

We compare ourselves to others who are more broken, more despicable, more unkempt, more "sinful", more selfish, more ungrateful, less rich, more unworthy, and we think, "Yep, I'm just about right where I should be."

I understand this seems kind of harsh. But it's something I was already thinking about this week. My pastor called last week and asked what I thought of the idea of some of the women in our church making gift baskets of beauty products and a Christian book and delivering them to the lockers of the strippers here in Missoula, to show them that they're loved and not forgotten.

After I got over my initial shock of actually going to a strip club (during it's closed hours), I loved the idea. I announced the idea to our women's Bible study and received a very favorable response. Almost immediately, however, I began to hear feedback of others (not in our women's group) that they did not like the idea and did not think it was the "right" thing to do.

What?? Do we read the same Bible??

Please truly hear these verses.

"Then one of the Pharisees invited Him (Jesus) to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house. She brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil and stood behind Him, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears...
When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, 'This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him - she's a sinner!'
(*gasp*)
Jesus replied to him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you...'
'A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which one of them will love him more?'
Simon answered, 'I suppose the one he forgave more.'
'You have judged correctly,' He told him...
Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that's why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.'"

(Full story found in Luke 7; emphasis mine)

We are actually quite deceived if we believe that we have been forgiven little. But the point is this: those whom are quite aware of the depths of sin and brokenness that the Lord has redeemed them from are those whom are often the most loving, the most thankful. Because they understand this simple concept, "But for God's grace...that's where I'd be. Or worse."

May we invite the Lord to open our eyes to our own true depravity, apart from His unspeakable grace, and may we love much.

Love much.

May that resonate within us as we encounter the "least of these" (Matt. 25:40).

3 comments:

  1. Sara,

    It is always good to hear your heart and to see you too are in process as God continues to refine those that are His children. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    PC

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Girl:

    Growing up in a non-christian family, living a life filled with self-destruction, sin & things I still can't bring myself to talk about, I am always in awe of God's love & forgiveness when I asked for it!!!! That I am no better or no worse that the "women" in these strip clubs, only difference is I'm forgiven. As christians, it can sure help us keep anchored to remember where we have been brought from or that might be the problem, we don't remember??? Sometimes when I think back on my life, it still amazes me that God forgave me and loves me so much!!!! As christian "women", it shouldn't even be an issue to reach out to these "women", that they may know the "unconditional" love of God as we have experienced. Shame on us as christian "women", if our heart is so self-focused & self-centered that we actually think that Jesus is not concerned with these "women" in a strip club, in a drug house, in a jail cell, in a rehab center, in a pimps car, in a brothel.............. We need to ask ourselves, what will it take for us to love them, as Christ loved us? To see them, as He sees them (lost, without hope)... God help us, that your forgiveness & mercy will bring us to our knees, and in return we will reach out to those that we were like before we were forgiven................ Mama

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sara,

    I remember a Christmas spent working in a night club. I was eighteen years old and lost. It was really cold that winter and we had to scrape our car windows when we got off work at four o'clock in the morning. I happened to get off later than the other girls because I helped the bartender clean up that night. When I was in the parking lot, one of the patrons of the club drove into the parking lot and rolled down his window and began to pester me about an after hours party. I wasn't interested and it was strictly forbidden by the boss as well. The guy was persistent and wouldn't take no for an answer. I was afraid to get in my car and leave because he'd follow me and I knew the bartender was gone because she parked in the back lot. I had seen her drive away while I was scraping my windows. I didn't know what to do and told the guy to leave me alone.
    He was about to get out of his car when some lady I had never met before pulled into the parking lot and rolled down her window and hollered that I better hurry up or she was going to start with out me. I was sure I didn't know her and figured she was there to help me. I shouted that I was coming and got into my car. She waited for me to warm it up and the guy left because she was there. She got out of her car and came over to me and tapped on the glass. I rolled down the window and she told me she was getting gas at the station across the street and saw what was happening. She took me to Denny's for breakfast and talked to me about her life and her kids and asked me about my life and my family. I don't even remeber her name but I remeber how she made me feel.
    I think these gift baskets will make the girls feel just the way I did that night.
    God Bless those who support this endeavor and His mercy for those who don't.

    ReplyDelete