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