Several years ago Henriann and I were invited to a "free" dinner. We knew the meal came with a sales pitch for some home security equipment, but didn’t expect the degree of pressure put on us to invest in this life saving equipment. The only way we felt like we could get out of the dinner before midnight was to agree to a meeting at our home where we would get some more information. The sales visit came and went and we managed to not spend any money, but I did learn the old adage to be true - there are no free lunches.
I should have known better - no one asks you for dinner without having some agenda. Some may be more noble than others but no one calls you around a table without wanting something. And that's okay. People need to sell products. People need to pitch deals. But it is a rare exception if someone invites you to dinner and they have no agenda. After all, who has ever been invited to someone's house for a meal and then sent to a private dining room all by themselves and told to eat and leave the dishes behind? It just doesn’t happen.
People invite people to a table for a reason, and it may be as innocent as establishing a friendship or deepening one. It may be simply to offer some support or wish you well on an upcoming adventure. But every meal has an agenda on the menu.
Each Sunday we are called to a table. Called by Jesus himself to eat with him, and, like everyone else, Jesus has an agenda. But what exactly is it?
His agenda is simple - remember.
Remember who I am. The preexistent son of God. God himself privileged with all the privileges of deity. Remember that all things came into existence through me and all things are sustained by me.
Remember that I came. In spite of these privileges I left heaven to become one of you. To live the life you live. To experience the joy and pain of humanity. Remember I, the creator, took on the likeness of the created.
Remember why I came. I became like you because without me you were lost. You sinned and needed a perfect and sinless sacrifice. Remember that I suffered great pain so you wouldn't. Remember I did this out of a deep love that you can only begin to imagine.
Remember that I will come again. I can’t tell you when but I will, and when I do we can eat another meal - a meal of victory and celebration.
"Come to my table," Jesus bids us. "Eat the bread and drink the wine I have prepared. Come dine with me ... and remember."