On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. Isaiah 25:1
I thoroughly enjoy imagining Isaiah’s vision of “the table” in the end time when God’s Kingdom is fully present. Amid the richness of the food and drink, and the end of death and suffering, I find great joy in the inclusivity of it all. In the end there will be no competition for whose God is the greatest, but our God will invite all peoples to the salvation feast.
I recently had the blessing of sitting down at the most diverse table I have ever sat at in my entire life. I am part of the steering committee that will be bringing an event called Sacred Connections to Cincinnati from January to August, 2019. This is an outgrown of the Festival of Faiths that happened last June. In Sacred Connections, eight religions will invite the community into their home for prayer, worship, education, and fellowship. LCR will be the Christian host congregation on Saturday, February 23.
Our last planning meeting was held at the luxurious home of a Muslim family in Amberley Village. They didn’t want this to just be a meeting but rather, a dinner meeting. I sat around the table with people from different countries and cultures, and different world religions: Jewish, Zoroastrian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Baha’i, and Universal Unitarian.
As the meeting began and dinner was in progress, a man arrived late. Everybody welcomed Jaipal (I had never met him before.). He was a tall, dark-skinned man with a long black and gray beard, wearing a blue turban. As there was no room at the table, Jaipal got his meal and squeezed next to me on the corner of the table where I was sitting. We began to chat, and surprisingly, he didn’t have an accent. He sounded just like me! (First stereotype dispelled!) As we shared out stories he told me that he was Sikh, had lived his whole life in Fairfield, was an architect, and had just left his company to start his own practice. (More stereotypes dispelled!) He made this change because he wanted to have more flexibility to be involved as a leader in his religious community. As I told Jaipal my story he was immediately curious about how one makes a career change from business to religion. I could sense his wheels turning!
The conversation at the table around the plans for Sacred Connections could not have been more kind and gracious. I felt a kindred spirit to each of these individuals who were humble, peaceful, and understood their religions as being non-threatening and a faithful path to God Almighty. I arrived home that evening and told Cindy that I was so gratified to have a place at the table that night; a table like I had never sat at before, a table that helped me to further picture the one that Isaiah envisioned. Everyone brings worth to the table and God’s Spirit is present.
I focus this devotion on the inclusive table, but first and foremost, a place at the table infers that all of God’s children have food to eat. Thank you for your generosity to our world hunger appeal this year. If you have not made a gift yet, please consider doing so as you are able. Hunger envelopes have been placed in every mailbox at church. Let’s meet our goal of $20,000 to do our part in helping to provide a place at the table for those who are hungry. I trust that all of you have had a joyous Thanksgiving with your families and friends. In gratitude to God for the abundance of our blessings, may we each make a special thanksgiving offering so that all will have… A Place At The Table!
About the Author: Pastor Henry Zorn. Pastor Zorn is one of the pastors at LCR. He lives in Anderson Township with his wife, Cindy.
About LCR: Lutheran Church of the Resurrection is a vibrant and welcoming community of faith and a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.