Who said you could leave the table?
No, I'm not talking about the dinner table. Although this phrase probably brings back lots of childhood memories. I really like the "old school" approach -- where you had to ask AND receive permission before you were allowed to leave the dinner table. And somewhere in the asking had better be the words, "Thanks for the dinner, mom."
But this post isn't about an actual dinner table in my home -- or yours. It's about a different sort of table. It's a table where we gather as believers in Jesus Christ and we talk to one another. We agree and we disagree. And when we disagree we might even get angry and frustrated and confused with each other. But we don't leave the table. We don't leave because Jesus told us to stay. The "table" represents the Body of Christ, and no matter how much we disagree with one another, we must choose to love one another because that's what Christians do. Followers of Jesus love one another, even when they disagree.
So who said you could leave the table? Who gave you permission to leave the conversation? Who gave you permission to decide that it is better for you to take your strongly held beliefs and go elsewhere?
You see, I thought we were supposed to figure out how to love each other ALL THE TIME, not just when we agree. And I thought that our love for Jesus Christ was enough to unite us, to keep us at the table, even in the toughest of times.
And what do you hope to accomplish by leaving the table? Don't you know there are others of us who also strongly believe in the same issues? We agree with you. And we're still at the table. We're still at the table because we believe that what unites us -- indeed WHO unites us -- is far more important, far more powerful, far more worthy than what divides us.
Being in the world but not of the world is a challenging notion. And yet that's what we are called to do. That's what we are calling our students to do. If our divisions and our demonstrations of disagreement and dissent actually helped further the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then perhaps we should all leave the table. But instead, our divisions actually detract from the Gospel message.
So now what? The rest of us are still at the table, still trying to figure it all out, still trying to love each other in the midst of the disagreements. But we are seeking Jesus and the power of His love and resurrection as our greatest strength and uniting force. And Jesus is enough to keep us at the table. Jesus is MORE than enough.