As United Methodists, when we participate in the service of Holy Communion, we are responding to the following invitation:
“Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him, who earnestly repent of their sin and seek to live in peace with one another.”
The United Methodist Church claims that we have “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors”. It is rooted in our Wesleyan heritage, defined by our social principles and it’s part of what makes United Methodists unique. We claim that we express our love for God through active discipleship and we recognize that to be a United Methodist we are included in a diverse, worldwide community of connected churches bound by faith and service to the world.
There is room at the table for ALL of God’s people. There is an invitation extended by Jesus Christ our Lord to all people who “love him, who earnestly repent of their sin and seek to live in peace with one another.” Christ’s Table is where we offer our hospitality. If we open our hearts, minds and doors, then we are welcoming ALL people, period.
We don’t all agree on what qualifies as a “sin” but we must agree that we are ALL sinners, so we each need to worry about ourselves and confess our own sins and let others do the same and allow God to sort the rest out. Each of us has a big fat log in our own eye and most of us would rather worry about the speck in the eye of another rather than to focus on our own sins.
We need to focus on grace, inclusiveness, unity and we are called to have a heart of peace. Anyone who encourages schism is breaching the law of love. We don’t have to agree on every single issue. If we all agree that our faith is in our Lord, Jesus Christ, then we should remain at the table together. If we accept the invitation to the Lord’s table, and earnestly repent of our sins, then we are called to offer one another signs of peace and reconciliation, we are called to offer ourselves and our gifts to God and we are to lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God. As we continue through our Word and Table liturgy, we are called to eat and drink in remembrance of Jesus.
If we remember Jesus, we see nothing in his ministry that excludes ANYONE. In fact we see the opposite. Jesus spent most of his time in public ministry with people on the margins, the immigrants, the outcasts. Simply put, Jesus spent time with those who the religious authorities shunned.
My hope and prayer is for the United Methodist Church to remain united, because I believe we are called to meet the physical and spiritual needs of our neighbors next door and in the world and we are stronger when we work together to fulfill God’s call in our collective lives. I also hope that we will all remain dedicated to wrestling with the scripture that is used as ammunition to divide us. Scripture has divided us over issues such as slavery, women in ministry and segregation and it’s being used now to divide us over issues of human sexuality. Jesus didn’t come to bring us schism; Jesus came to show us a way to live together in peace and unity.
Let us continue to pray for eyes to see and ears to hear what God has to say to us today through the living text. And as United Methodists, let us use the Wesley Quadrilateral as we seek the truth in scripture as we consider reason, tradition and experience. Come to the table, y’all where we can encounter Christ and seek to be at peace with one another.
If you would like to print or share this edition of Claire…ification,
you are encouraged to use this pdf:
Claire – There is Room at Christ’s Table for ALL of God’s People
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