6/27/21 – “A Place at the Table”

Posted on : Jun 26th, 2021 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

“A Place at the Table”

Three days before his inauguration in 1993, President-elect Bill Clinton included these words a speech:

Let us build an American home for the twenty-first century where everyone has a place at the table and not a single child is left behind.

As these President-elects often do, the goals and visions they share before starting their term are often lofty and noble, but rarely come to fruition during that President’s term in office. But there is nothing wrong in desiring, even expecting to have a place at the table! Anyone who has ever known what it is to be denied the opportunity to participate or been shunned by others knows what it is to want to have a place at the table. Anyone who has ever been ridiculed or excluded has the desire to belong. It seems imbedded in our human D.N.A.

The text we will explore on Sunday is the story of a woman who wants nothing more than to have a seat at the table. As this story unfolds and we watch this interchange between Jesus and the woman, we witness that even Jesus himself has to learn that all people deserve a place at the table. Perhaps it is this very encounter that allows Jesus to go on to establish that practice as a foundation of his ministry and becomes a guiding principle of the Church that bears his name?

In our story, Jesus and his disciples aren’t on their home turf. It seems that they have gone into Gentile territory, perhaps to get away for a hours, if not days, of peace and rest. But that rest doesn’t come. No sooner does Jesus settle down and get comfortable, than a disturbance comes in the form of a Gentile woman begging for help. In this odd interchange, Jesus tells her to leave him alone. He doesn’t have time for her. {That’s because she’s a no-body – a Gentile, an unclean person to Jews, and she’s a woman.} But she won’t take “no” for an answer. She reminds Jesus that if he is going to do good things for his own kind {the children mentioned in the text}, he needs to do good things for ALL people {the dogs mentioned in the text}! She is asking for nothing more than to have a place at Jesus’ table!

Jesus learns a life changing lesson from this woman who is a stark opposite of who Jesus is and where he comes from. From her, he learns what we all must learn! In order to make the world a place where everyone has a place at the table, we must constantly open our eyes and our hearts to see who is missing when we sit down and eat. If we are going to get this right, we cannot pick up the fork and begin the meal, until we expand our guest list. Who is missing from your table? Invite them to join you; it is life changing!

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!


Pastor Joe


Mark 7: 24-30
[from “The Message” by Eugene Peterson]

From Galilee Jesus set out for the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house there where he didn’t think he would be found, but he couldn’t escape notice. Jesus was barely inside when a woman who had a disturbed daughter heard where he was. She came to the house, entered, and knelt at Jesus’ feet, begging for help. The woman was Greek, Syro-Phoenician by birth. She asked Jesus to cure her daughter.

Jesus said, “Stand in line and take your turn. The children get fed first. If there’s any left over, the dogs get it.”  She said, “Of course, Master. But don’t dogs under the table get scraps dropped by the children?” Jesus was impressed. “You’re right! On your way! Your daughter is no longer disturbed. The demonic affliction is gone.“ She went home and found her daughter relaxed on the bed, the torment gone for good. 


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