This table is a standing invitation to receive the hospitality of God, and so it is also a standing reminder to you to share this same hospitality with others. If youíve been here for a number of years, you no doubt have a circle of friends and family you serve regularly, and you should know that it is very important that you keep showing hospitality to those people. Hospitality starts in every home with those you are closest to, and please donít minimize that care in the slightest. At the same time, we want to be practicing in such a way that we are able to squeeze more chairs around the table as God blesses. And if youíre newer to the church, please jump in with us, love your people, introduce yourself, share your table with others. All hands on deck, as they say.††
But the thing we want to keep front and center is the fact that all true hospitality is grace. All hospitality is a gift to be given, not some kind of grievous burden. And we know this because this table is a gift. This table is grace. As we do not get tired of saying, this table is not a reward for being good. This table is for sinners. This table is for the weak, the tired, the downtrodden, the hungry, the dirty. Have you sinned? And do you hate it? Then you are welcome. Have you failed again, and does it make you sick to your stomach? Then come. Are you afraid, struggling with worry and anxiety? God has set this table with you in mind. He knew we needed regular reminders. And this is the thing you need to be reminded of: you do not stand in your goodness. If you stand at all, you stand in His grace.
You are tempted look at your track record. You are tempted to compare yourself to what others appear to be. But comparing yourself to yourself or to others is actually a terribly low bar and ironically ends up with you settling for far less. But if you look to Christ, you see an incredibly high bar and yet itís the kind of high bar that lifts you up. And this is because the perfection of God is Christ, come to save sinners. When you look at the perfection of God, the holiness of God, the justice of God, if youíre looking straight at it, all you see is Christ. Because Christ is the fullness of God revealed to man. And therefore, Christ is the hospitality of God, the welcome of God, and if You have Christ, You have Christ to share.
†So, come and welcome to Jesus Christ.†