You can’t be hospitable if you demand your guests grovel

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you into the glory of God.

— Romans 15.7

Note that my translation of the Greek is slightly different than that of the common English Bibles. In my opinion, this exhortation has a eucharistic overtone since it is the climax of an argument beginning in Romans 14.1 about not judging or despising fellow believers over dietary matters at meals. The argument is that, if God has welcomed Christians to His table, so should we (14.3).

So what if God “graciously invites us” to grovel before him on our knees while he puts a morsel on out tongues?  What sort of hospitality would we tend to demonstrate to others in that case?  Or, closer to my personal home, how about if God gave us a fraction of a snack and told us to hold it and try to drudge up enough contemplation of our sin and Christ’s sacrifice because if we didn’t do so long enough (how long? no guidance) the crumb would either do us no good or actually poison us?

Of course, God being God and we being both creaturs and sinners, there is a place for confession and even self-condemnation when one meets with God.  But, if in the case of actual theophanies, God quickly raises up those he meets, how much more should we be confident that we have moved beyond such considerations after a brief confession of sin and a promise of absolution?

How does Luke 14 read to you?  Does Jesus say, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and give them a tiny crumb and make them pray and meditate on their sinfulness and Christ’s death for a long, long time before they partake.”?  No, Jesus freely reclined with others, including his disciples when he instituted the Lord’s Supper.

Sure, you’re a sinner.  And God has raised you up to sit at his table.  If he forgets your sins what business is it of yours to remember them?  Have a full glass of wine (by which I mean, wine, not grape juice) and know that God loves you.  Then maybe you can learn how to treat other people as guests at your table.

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