Open hearts, open minds, open doors, open table.

This Sunday’s scripture is the story of the prodigal son, which most of us are pretty familiar with. But I don’t always pay attention to how Jesus sets up this parable in verses 1-3 of the 15th chapter of Luke:

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable:

He then tells the parable, and towards the end, when the son returns, the father says to his servants:

‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

This Sunday, the first Sunday of the month, our church will celebrate Communion. As Methodists, we welcome to the communion table anyone who seeks to respond to Christ’s love and to lead a new life of peace and love. Our Book of Worship says, “All who intend to lead a Christian life, together with their children, are invited to receive the bread and cup. We have no tradition of refusing any who present themselves desiring to receive.” This practice of an “open table” comes from the Methodist understanding of Holy Communion as Christ’s table, not the table of The United Methodist Church or of the local congregation, and the recognition that Holy Communion may be an occasion for the reception of converting, justifying, and sanctifying grace.Read More »