[Image via @dempseycarroll]
By: Gabriela Yareliz Gonzalez, Editor of Modern Witnesses
Does anyone else absolutely love a good table setting? I personally love the ones Athena Calderone does. She taught a course on tablescapes for the Cherry Bombe University.
[Image of Athena Calderone working her magic, via @eyeswoon]
This type of creativity isn’t something that comes naturally to me, but I can only pray that I will at least be able to get inspired by others’ vision and make my home a beautiful home.
Much of our holiday season festivities (by holidays I mean Thanksgiving and Christmas), revolve around the dinner table.
[Image via @dempseycarroll]
Today, I want to talk about setting the table, but in a different sense.
The verses we see in Acts 10 and 11 are a powerful reminder. God wanted Peter to meet Cornelius, a Roman centurion with much need. Scripture says that despite Cornelius being a gentile (Italian cohort according to Acts 10:1), he was a “devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.” There was a barrier between these two individuals, however.
The nation of Israel was supposed to be a light and to live differently than those who surrounded it. Over time, what the nation did was isolate itself because it felt that mingling with others became its downfall (see decades of idolatry and slavery in scripture).
What was missing was the fact that while it was supposed to live differently, the nation was called to mingle with its non-Jewish neighbors and testify of God’s power and true nature.
Peter has this vision, where “unclean food” appears to him, and in his vision, he hears “kill and eat” (Acts 10:13). The voice tells him to stop calling unclean that which is no longer “common” (Acts 10:15).
In this passage, we see Peter facing biases and customs he has held onto for so long, and realizing he must let them go if he is going to do what God has called him to do. He must go to all people.
God has never been an exclusive God, but He is an inclusive God.
A friend of mine said that “Worship is the way you live.” This means it’s about how we treat others. Acts chapter 11 shows us the correct interpretation of the vision. Peter explains to others that this wasn’t about food and meat being clean or unclean, it is about God telling him to make no distinction of people. (Acts 11:12)
“It is about God telling him to make no distinction of people.”
Romans 14 is a chapter that impressed me deeply, recently. It again stresses this concept of not passing judgment or making distinctions among people. This is not to say everything is acceptable or that we can remain in our sin. In fact, we see that everyone who truly encountered Jesus was never the same, in scripture. Not everyone we will encounter will be devout or searching, as Cornelius was. That’s not the point of the story. Peter didn’t know Cornelius’ heart. We can’t see people’s hearts or convictions. That’s not our role. Our role is to welcome all to the table.
“Our role is to welcome all to the table.”
“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.” Romans 14:1-3
This passage impacted me so much because it reminds us of what we are all guilty of. Some do and some abstain (I am talking about a whole range of things, not just eating), yet neither is to pass judgment on the other. God handles our convictions and transformations. Instead, we are to welcome all to the table. Why? “God has welcomed him.”
As we approach this 2018 Thanksgiving and Christmas season, let us reflect in our hearts about what it would look like for us to welcome all to the table and make no distinction. May we dress the table, invite, and break bread in unity of Love, which is Christ Jesus.
The Savior has welcomed us all.