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With Sinners

Today’s Reflection

DURING HIS EARTHLY LIFE Jesus went out of his way to eat with all kinds of people—his followers, his enemies, and those who were marginalized in his society. Ignoring the criticism of his choice of meal companions, Jesus enjoyed table fellowship, taught, and witnessed to God’s inclusive love. The phrase in our ritual which Christians should perhaps find most comforting and most challenging is the simple statement that he “ate with sinners.” Thank God that he did, and that he does. Pray that we might exemplify that love.

—Gayle Carlton Felton
“Holy Communion in the Life of the Church: The Theology and Experience of Reconciliation,” Conflict and Communion: Reconciliation and Restorative Justice at Christ’s Table

From page 32 of Conflict and Communion: Reconciliation and Restorative Justice at Christ’s Table edited by Thomas Porter. Copyright © 2006 by Discipleship Resources, an imprint of Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Who are the absent ones from our communion tables?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.”
—Luke 19:7, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

God of forgiveness, help me forgive. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

A special invitation to the Daily Reflections family: Upper Room Books is offering a 15% discount on books purchased from The Upper Room Bookstore during the month of April. Use promo code APRIL15 when you make your purchase at bookstore.upperroom.org. Offer excludes packages and non-discountable items.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Jill April 12, 2019, 5:21 am

    My initial reaction is that the ones who are absent are those who choose not to come. But, could it be because of those seated at the table that create an exclusionary environment? Something which deserves deep consideration. To whom do we extend an welcoming invitation? Are our arms as wide open in acceptance as Christ’s arms on the cross?
    The outpouring of love yesterday was overwhelming for my dad and I. Dad underestimated how many people would come and the length of the calling hours. It was a long, wearisome day – but, yet another day the Lord saw us through. The emptiness of mom and dad’s condo is a vast wilderness my dad finds himself in. There is nothing I can do to ease the vacancy, the pain. We just must continue to walk through these moments. Today I will begin going through some of mom’s things. Not yet ready to go through her clothes, I am going to begin in the bathroom, with her cosmetics and toiletries. And maybe into her pajamas and lingerie. Sitting here this morning, confessing to God the darkness of my heart with regards to why my sister isn’t thinking of doing these things. I am going to have to repeat Colossians 3:17 over and over today – whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all for the glory of God.
    Mary – prayers for your mom and for you as you are with her and caring for her.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 12, 2019, 5:55 am

      Thanks Jill!

      May you have sweet memories of your mum as you go through her things. Your may not be ready yet. Please give her more time.

      Blessings

      Praying for you, your dad and sister. May God comfort you and your family in your grieving process, Jill!

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 12, 2019, 5:56 am

    I mean your sister may not be ready yet

    Sorry for my error

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 12, 2019, 8:02 am

      Those who are absent from our Communion tables could be the elderly who are home bound, bed ridden, homeless, or even those who have not forgiven for one reason or another, etc.

  • robert moeller April 12, 2019, 7:09 am

    People of all kinds and types are missing from our communion tables. We need the broad spectrum of humanity and we don’t have it.

    Thankful for yesterday, a pleasant ride over and back to the prospective new home, an excellent house inspection report, made the last of the earnest money deposits, and there’s a sale pending sign in front of the property. So far so good.

    Hopeful to see my daughter and granddaughters tomorrow. Spring weather.

    Prayers for Larry, Becky, and Jill and all the family and friends of Gloria. God is with you. Very thankful for all you did to help, comfort, aid Gloria. Bless you!

    Each of us has our own timetable on when we can take care of the things left behind. Sometimes it takes a while. It took my sister a while to take our parents’ remains to their final resting place. There are things of Mom’s that still need attention and she passed away 4 years ago.

    Prayers that Mary’s Mum is soon home from the hospital, thankful for the attention she receives from Mary.

    Three packages of trains go off to a buyer today. I have no room or need for them.

    Hope all who are in need of health care are receiving it. Think of Marcy, Rusty, Julie, Edy’s Bill, Andrea and Lowell, Anneliese, Doris, and all who are unnamed.

    Lord, grant us wisdom as we start the process of electing leaders this coming year. May Your wisdom be with the United Methodist Church as it makes decisions on sexuality. Help us to be Christ-like. Thank You, Lord.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 12, 2019, 8:05 am

      Thanks Robert!

      Glad that you could get buyer for your trains.

      Blessings!

  • Julie April 12, 2019, 8:05 am

    I immediately thought of the LGBT individuals who have been excluded following the Methodist leaderships recent voting. I have been too long absent myself due to health issues, so those who are unable to attend due to health issues are also absent.
    Prayers for Jill, Larry and Becky as they each must now process the loss of Gloria. Have you asked Becky to assist you with your task? Often we just assume people know what we are thinking.
    Prayers for Mary and her mum. May her mum’s health improve and may God strengthen Mary to help her mum and bless her for all she does to support her mum.
    Prayers for Andrea and Lowell and their healing.
    Prayers for Connie and her healing.
    Prayers for Betsy and her ministries.
    Prayers for April and Edy and Bill.
    Prayers for Lou and her daughter, may they be guided by God.
    Prayers for Marcy, may she be well.
    Prayers for Rusty, may he be well.
    Prayers and blessings and warm hugs dear UR family
    Thank you for your prayers and kind words. Things are very tense and difficult here.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 12, 2019, 9:02 am

      Thanks Julie!

      I know I can count on you and all here for prayers!

      I commit my mum into God’s hands.
      May His will be done.

      Blessings!

  • Andrea April 12, 2019, 9:53 am

    Thank you, Julie, and everyone for your prayers. I pray for you, Julie, and all who cannot get to the communion table. Does your church have a pastoral care ministry where someone can bring communion to you?

    Jill, I pray you will be gentle with yourself and with your sister. Grieving a mother’s death takes a long time. We did not start going through my mother’s things until over a year after she died. There was no hurry because my sister was living in her condo. People’s readiness and circumstances differ greatly. I keep you, your father and sister in my prayers in this difficult time for the three of you.

    Mary, I keep you and your mother in my prayers. May your mother eat well, get stronger, and go home soon. She is very blessed to have you.

    Robert, I pray the changes you and Erich are making will be good for you and beneficial to Erich and his job search. Prayers too for Anneliese, for good pain control.

    Prayers for my friend Jane, a widow who lives alone with stage four cancer. I am grateful she recently got out of the hospital.

    Prayers for all dear UR friends and those for whom you pray.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling April 13, 2019, 5:43 am

      Thanks Andrea!

      Tonight I will be watching and praying for my mum till morning at the hospital.

      Appreciate all your prayers!

      Thank you!

      Blessings!

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