Two of the most common buzz words in our modern cultural vocabulary are rights and privilege. Human rights, equal rights, gay rights, male privilege, white privilege, wealth privilege, and so on. But the reason our culture is floundering in these concepts is because it is in rebellion against the living God. When people will not submit to God’s Word, His standards, and His definitions, people always create their own. If you will not submit to God’s word, all the words are up for grabs, including the pronouns.
But this table is one of the key places where Jesus has established God’s Word, His standards, and His definitions in the world. Here, at this table, God invites all sinners to fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ. The only qualification for coming to this table is that you must be a sinner in need of grace. And “sinner” is defined by God and His Word alone. Sexual immorality is a sin. Envy is a sin. Hatred of your brother made in God’s image is a sin. Being born with particular gifts or opportunities or blessings or challenges is not a sin. But this table is for sinners.
If equality or lack of privilege mean that you think you have less sin, relatively little sin, or that you are somehow innocent of great transgressions, then must lay that claim down. You cannot come to this table as an innocent victim, or as a member of an oppressed people group. Christ is the only innocent victim, and all have sinned. This is why Paul says there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female in Jesus Christ. The ground is level at the cross. We are equally damned, equally saved, and equally love by the Father.
But this fundamental equality in Christ does not obliterate differences; rather, it is the root cause of all the glorious differences. In the beginning, God created all things, tad poles and zebras and elephants and water and stars, and men and women. They were made with different glories, different privileges, and it was all very good. And so it is here, though through a glass darkly, we see God in His goodness forgiving all our sins and bestowing very different gifts on everyone at His table. It’s the same table, the same Jesus, the same Spirit, and yet different gifts, different manifestations, different blessings, different glory. And it is all very good.
So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.