Ember Friday, March 14, 2014

Morning Psalms: 95. 40, 54 | Evening Psalm: 51
Genesis 40:1-23 | 1 Corinthians 3:16-23 | Mark 2:13-22
In Mark’s gospel, the calling of Matthew happens just after that famous scene in which a man who had been lowered in from a roof now walks down a Capernaum street, mat under arm, to the amazement of all who see. But the greater miracle according to Jesus is that this man is forgiven of his sins. Through Jesus’ spoken word, God himself has reconciled an alienated soul. And with that same voice, in that same authority, he simply calls Levi the tax collector to follow, and so he does.  Much like the dropped nets of Simon, Andrew, James, and John, I imagine Levi’s tax booth sitting abandoned, coins and records dropping in the dust as the most shunned man in the crowd is summoned by this remarkable Rabbi. But the shock of that only swells into all out scandal as Jesus enters the house to dine with this man—a cheater and traitor to the Jewish people. Why would Jesus offer the intimacy of sharing a meal with such a sinner and compromise his own reputation? Jesus was breaking down the man-made walls of legalistic tradition. Jesus befriended and broke bread with the scum of society, scandalizing those who were trying to love and serve God by steering clear of such people. As the one with the authority to forgive sins, as a doctor who holds the remedies for the ailing, Jesus was seeking after the spiritually sick. In his calling of Matthew, we see that he was even willing to make them a part of his inner circle.
Have we gotten stuck in the pharisaical rut of only interacting with those who believe and behave like us? Perhaps our dining rooms are the solution. What if we committed to consistently show hospitality to outsiders of the faith (neighbors, coworkers, etc)?
Before attending Trinity, my husband and I led InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Florida State University. In response to Jesus’ pattern of regularly eating with both his disciples as well as with outsiders, we started a new communal practice called ‘Eat Like Jesus Month.’ Every member committed to sharing 2 intentional meals each week—one meal with our brothers and sisters, and one meal with non-believers. Intentionality and prayer was essential, but the idea was a simple one. By consistently breaking bread with each other, our fellowship became more intimate. By consistently breaking bread with outsiders, our mission became more potent. Jesus knew what he was doing.


Karissa Bodoh
Student Spouse
Tallahassee, FL


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