Jesus suppers with us S upper is as much a verb as it is a noun. Meals in biblical times symbolized kinship and acceptance. Jesus seems to be saying that if you invite Him “to supper” with you for a meal, He’ll invite you “to supper” with Him for eternity. “Because when I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,” Jesus told His followers in another reference to a meal, “you get the king- dom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (see Matthew 25:34–35). Grace is said around the table because grace happens there. When Scripture talks about food, it’s talking about our house. Hospitality is inviting someone into our space where life happens, and it’s intimate and healing. Opening our table to those who wouldn’t typically be invited is among the most radical acts of kindness. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers,” exhorts the writer of Hebrews, “for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (13:2). Hospitality is a Christian imperative, not an option. Grace served over a meal is an essential part of how we do life together. Food is the fuel of kindness, and through a meal we break down the cultural differences that have long divided us. Hospitality calls us to bring to our table those who culturally may not be getting an invitation. When we open our tables—simple or ele- gant—to those unlike us, we are creating an image of the day when we will forever feast, as John envisions in his revelation, when he sees “an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice…, ‘Come, gather together for the great supper of God’” (Revelation 19:17). What if our tables today began to look like heaven’s table? Kindness is inviting “the other” to our tables. One of the ways we bless the nations is when our dinner tables include those outside of our families—those who may not dress like us or look like us or worship like us or believe like us or sound like us. That meal could be with a colleague who came from across the ocean. It could be with a widow who came from across the street. It could be with a family who came from across the tracks. Paula and I try to find occasions to welcome people to our supper table whose narratives are far different from ours. The easy invitation is to invite like-minded and culturally similar families to comfort us with the familiar, those with the same norms and neighborhoods and income brackets and schools. The kinder invitation, we are learn- ing, is to supper with those who reflect the diversity of “every tribe and tongue and nation.” Meals like this point to the Great Supper God will one day host. Ī Food is the fuel of kindness, and through a meal we break down the cultural differences that have long divided us. 29 WWW.AGRM.ORG JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018