Who Belongs at the Table?

November 21, 2014

Today’s Reflection

LAST WEEKEND I started mentally gearing up to host a meal. What date? How many? Who? I’ve learned that a good dinner party includes people who share common interests but can also bring fresh ideas to enliven the table talk. I scribbled names of professional women with admirable faith, all lively conversationalists. The ideal grouping I envisioned the perfect ladies’ night.

Even the thought of entertaining can prompt me to tidy up. Skimming through and discarding old magazines, I stared at a bold-faced headline that made me think twice about the potential guest list: “Guess Who Ought to Be Coming to Dinner.” I stopped and read the smaller print of the text by the Reverend Dr. Bonnie Thurston about Jesus and his “unacceptable dinner guests.” She asked, “What if I invited folks to dinner and did not worry whether they belonged at the table?” …

Lord, whether I’m planning a dinner or a day, help me to ask good questions, starting with, “[God,] What do you want me to do?”

- Evelyn Bence

Room at My Table

From pages 24-25 of Room at My Table: Preparing Heart & Home for Christian Hospitality by Evelyn Bence. Copyright © 2014 by Evelyn Bence. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.
http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Start your day with the question, “God, what do you want me to do?” Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.

Ephesians 1:15-16, NRSV

This Week: pray for faithful friends. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers, call 1-800-251-2468.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember:
Hilda of Whitby
(November 17).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2014, a ministry of GBOD | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Welcome and Hospitality

November 20, 2014

Today’s Reflection

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, hesed is a practice of welcome and hospitality among the Hebrew people. Hesed requires that the host and the sojourner eat together to signify welcoming and connecting with the stranger. It is clear to me that eating together is the sign of real community more than any other behavior named in the Hebrew or Christian Scriptures. …

It is not enough to feed persons who happen to be poor. If we are to be in community and have hope for our transformation as well as the transformation of those who happen to be poor, then we have to eat together.

- John Flowers and Karen Vannoy
Not Just a One-Night Stand

From pages 70-71 of Not Just a One Night Stand: Ministry with the Homeless by John Flowers and Karen Vannoy. Copyright © 2009 by Discipleship Resources. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Think of a time when you have experienced ministry that was welcoming. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100:5, NRSV

This Week: pray for faithful friends. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers, call 1-800-251-2468.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember:
Hilda of Whitby
(November 17).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2014, a ministry of GBOD | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Looking with the Eyes of Christ

November 19, 2014

Today’s Reflection I ONCE WORKED on staff at a large, prominently placed downtown church. It was easy to find the hungry, the thirsty, and the stranger there. They came to us. They came to our charitable office for food and clothing and career assistance. They sat in our sanctuary for warmth on cold days. And […]

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Forgiveness During Conflict

November 18, 2014

Today’s Reflection HOW CAN WE turn the other cheek, responding out of power rather than force in ordinary encounters with those who may be opposing us? If someone makes an insulting remark we usually react in one of four ways: (1) instantly retaliating, returning insult for insult; (2) launching into defensive explanations; (3) falling silent […]

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I Will Not Leave You

November 17, 2014

Today’s Reflection THROUGH MY WORK in spiritual direction, I find that many people have a fear of abandonment. As an only child, I felt that fear especially when my parents would go out for an evening. I didn’t know if I could trust the promise that my parents would return because of the lurking fear […]

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The Nature of Prayer

November 16, 2014

Today’s Reflection OFTEN PRAYER BEGINS as a longing in the heart, a longing for love, a longing for connection, a longing to make contact with a Power greater than ourselves. Sometimes it begins as a desperate need for help, peace, strength, or comfort. Other times prayer’s beginning is a deep hope for others — an […]

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Touched by God’s Grace

November 15, 2014

Today’s Reflection MY GOD, EVERY FIBER of my being vibrates at the touch of your grace – whereby I am given the privilege of being your child. My joy at your overwhelming gestures of love and the high privilege you extend to me of entering into your life invades my being with an acute sense […]

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A Prayer of Praise

November 14, 2014

Today’s Reflection PRAISE DIFFERS FROM thanksgiving, which is offered for a specific reason or a particular gift. Praise does not depend on any single deed or gift of God. It is a prayer, chorus, or hymn directed to God out of endless wonder from our endless discovery of who God is. Praise goes beyond thanksgiving […]

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Let God Lead

November 13, 2014

Today’s Reflection EVEN IF YOUR DAY is filled with lots of unavoidable doing, pick sabbaths of time (maybe only 3 to 5 minutes) in which you can be rather than do. One of my favorite authors is the Jesuit priest Thomas Green. He offers an analogy that has empowered me to yield to God’s grace. […]

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God’s Faithful Friend

November 12, 2014

Today’s Reflection FAITHFUL GOD, you are an unfailing friend to those who live hard lives on the underside of society. Receive and fortify my desire to be your faithful friend by working for holy justice and peace wherever I am and whatever I am doing. Amen. – Rueben P. Job, Norman Shawchuck, and John S. […]

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