Novelty. It is “something new or unusual”, something that breaks into our routine and adds new perspective or shines a light on an aspect of something we have never seen before.
This is the best way to describe how I feel about this video. What’s novel about eating a meal? Nothing. It is something we do about 21 times a week, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We eat to live. Sometimes, we may eat to experience new cultures and flavors when we want to go the novel route. But eventually, this novelty can become commonplace, revealing that we essentially must eat to survive.
And this is where the novelty of this beautiful video comes in. These people are eating to live, eating to experience, and eating to enjoy, as we all do. But the aspect that changes everything about this meal, that brings to life this routine practice, is…
The people they share the meal with that were previously only neighbors by proximity.
The people that have very different cultural, ethnic, and generational backgrounds that typically might not gather together at a table.
The people that may not believe the same things about how society should be run or which god they should worship, if they even care about worshiping a personal god.
The people who might have been considered strange or uncomfortable to be around.
These differences certainly make sharing a table potentially awkward or even contentious. But it’s the people we enjoy a meal with that make eating together novel, “something new or unusual.”
Jesus knew this very well. He was accused of eating together with all kinds of people that his society rejected. But he does it anyway, knowing it is one of the only ways to break down the barriers between others.
Jesus’ final meal with his disciples, a confused and fearful group of young men, shows us more than just the beginning of a practice known as Communion. It is a dinner feast in celebration of the Passover, of God rescuing his people Israel from slavery. And it is only the beginning, the rehearsal dinner for another feast to which Jesus refers, “‘I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom'” (Matt. 26:29).
There is a new day, a second, greater feast at the table he is referring to that his disciple John writes about later,
“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God'” (Revelation 19:9).
Who are these “blessed” ones who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Jesus)?
“…Jesus answered them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance'” (Luke 5:32).
It is a feast by invitation. But the invitation resembles a call to the doctor’s office, not the principal’s office. The weary, the broken, those who suffer and realize their own bankruptcy in being able to love well, those who limp with an unhealed heart. The left out, leaned out, burned out, and down and out.
The call is to see this need and no longer turn to our own self-sufficiency or other things to be rescued, but to turn to Jesus himself, who sacrifices, heals, forgives, restores, who replaces us as the bankrupt debtor. He is the resurrected One who first died the most painful death as an outcast, for you and me to be brought back home.
This moment of relational joy and human connection portrayed in this video is what I truly believe we ultimately want…an eternal place without fear, shame, guilt, doubt, or hatred. We want a safe and loving place to call home.
And it starts by taking a seat at His Table.