Isn’t it interesting that one of the key charges that Jesus’ detractors brought was, “This man received sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2)?
Table fellowship was a key part of Jesus’ ministry. He enjoyed the give and take of a dinner party, and he opened his table to all who would come. This was a radical statement in his day, and it often still is in ours.
As we stand at a point in history where we will see an African-American nominated for President of the United States, how many of us can think back to a time of “colored” water fountains, separate waiting rooms for black and white at the bus or train stations, and so-called “separate but equal” schools? There was a point in the South when blacks and whites would never sit down at a table together for a meal. It was unthinkable.
Since table fellowship was so central to the ministry of Jesus, perhaps it is in fellowship around the table in Emmaus that the two disciples who unknowingly been been walking with Jesus finally recognized the Lord. It is fitting that we end our state and national CBF meetings with the observance of communion. In that act, we are reminded that the table doesn’t belong to any particular group of Baptists or any particular type of Christian—it is the Lord’s Table. He invites all of us to it and that fellowship is blessed by the Spirit of God.
When we sit down across the table from someone in a church basement, a Starbucks, an Olive Garden, or a soup kitchen, we recognize a brother or sister made in the image of God. In such situations, the Spirit speaks.