In the Biblical story, God is always looking for cooperative participants to join him in his work in the world. God connects those who open their hearts to him together into a community that is shaped by his character and mission.
Jesus of Nazareth is the full and final picture of what God is like and what God seeks to do in the world. So we are committed to be a Jesus-shaped community that represents Jesus well in culture.
This means that we see the church as not a refuge from the world, or a hospital for saints, but rather as an expression of God’s commitment to show outrageous love and lavish grace to those who feel far away from him. The orientation of the church is outward towards the world, not inward, towards itself. We refuse to stuff our calendars full of church activity, so that we may continue to be good neighbors, co-workers, and friends.
One of the most controversial aspects of Jesus’ ministry was his willingness to share meals with outcasts, sinners, and the marginalized. Sharing a meal with someone in Jesus’ day was considered a form of acceptance and social approval. This was called table fellowship, and used by Jesus to manifest the open and expansive nature of his movement.
The practice of table fellowship is, for us, the most important picture of how we relate to the world around us: practicing radical hospitality, committed to countercultural friendship, and embodying extravagant grace.
It was in this context that the people who encountered Jesus were transformed.
We believe that transformation still takes place today.
Every Sunday, we come to the table as a church to celebrate and remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Some call this the ‘Lord’s Supper’. Others call it the ‘Eucharist’ or ‘Communion.’ Whatever it’s called, it is the most compelling invitation ever offered: God is ‘reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.’
So you’re invited. With your questions, and your doubts. With your hang-ups and your screw-ups. With your addictions and your brokenness. The table is for you.
The bread and the cup. They’re for you.
Then, every month we gather in homes all over from Nashville to Columbia. We call these gatherings The Table, because they reflect the practice of Jesus in sharing meals with others. The Table provides opportunities for smaller groups of people to share a meal together and enjoy conversation with others from Journey Church. These are deliberately unstructured environments where people from all different backgrounds feel permission to discuss difficulties or celebrate the small victories of life. In this way, the hospitality that Jesus shows us at his table is extended to others. We envision a community full of unlikely friendships and uncommon hospitality as we seek to learn and listen from others who are unlike us.
Mike Erre is the Teaching Pastor at Journey Church in Brentwood, TN.
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