As I’ve read through the Gospels, particularly the interactions between Jesus and His disciples, I’m struck with two basic commands, for lack of a better word, that Jesus implores: don’t be afraid, and just show up. This is the Gospel according to Chase, in my words. Jesus’s words are more like “follow me”. But in so many situations, I just get the sense that Jesus wanted to tell His followers “Dudes! Chill out, don’t be afraid, keep your eyes and hearts open, and watch and learn”. And they did, albeit reluctantly. Feeding the masses, healings, teachings, long conversations, table fellowship. All because a small group of followers continually just showed up, responding to their Rabbi.
In our experience as table hosts, that’s the foundation of The Table. If you were invited to dinner, at a total stranger’s house, with a group of people you didn’t know, with no other expectation than to just eat together, would you go?
It’s a crazy proposition, and under most circumstances you’d probably say “uh, thanks but no thanks”. Too ambiguous, too stressful, too scary, need more info. The disciples probably felt the same way. But dig further. These aren’t exactly total strangers. They go to the same church as you. And it just so happens, LOTS of other people are accepting this invitation on faith, and are willing to give it a shot. And, there’s a distinct possibility you may feel a connection with someone else that you might want to hang out with again.
Melanie and I have hosted 3 table dinners, and several others with one or two couples at a time, just to get to know our Journey family better. We’re new to the church, and we’ve been eager to be known and know others. We need new friendships in our life. We long for new stories of how you found Journey, found Nashville, your highs and lows, and how you’re emerging from a tumultuous season.
I can tell you first hand that many of us are in search of similar things. A sense of belonging and community, fellowship with other people that is both similar and different from us, and a chance to experience “church” in a different way. The beauty of Journey in this season is that we’re learning, changing, and experimenting together. As a body, and as individuals. Few churches have this opportunity to set their future together. We feel so blessed to be a part of Journey at this time of formation.
I encourage you to experience a table meal. It’s wonderful! Yes, it requires a level of vulnerability, of faith, of anxiety that’s out of the ordinary. We’ve never “put ourselves out there” as far as we have for The Table. But the connections we’re making…we couldn’t make them any other way. And I think you’ll experience the same. Don’t be afraid, just show up. You’ll be glad you did!
Chase Ezell and his wife Melanie are enjoying that empty nest life in Brentwood, TN. When they aren’t visiting their two daughters, they are having people over for dinner and great conversations.
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