The Best Dinner Invitation Ever

There is a scripture I’ve read several times this week, and everytime it makes me cry:

Matthew 9:10-13: And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

This story never resonated with me before. Internally, I always saw myself in the Pharisees’ place–always thought it was a lesson on not judging others, and understanding that Christ loved everyone, not just people “like me.” But this week I’m tender. This week I see the other side. Jesus wants to eat with me. I’m sick, I’m a sinner, I’m a publican, I’m a human in need of love and mercy, and Jesus wants to eat with me. He defends me against those who would judge; he invites me to his table. Undoubtedly, dinner consists of milk and honey without money and without price.

How many of our brothers and sisters at church squirm, uncomfortable with the pressure of being themselves in a misleading sea of homogenous smiling faces and burning testimonies. How many sad, sick, doubting sinners are sitting in the pews hoping for a glimpse of the spirit, a sense of peace they’ve felt before and now crave? How often do we go to church, hoping to be healed by the Physician, simultaneously hoping no one else notices? Who are the publicans and sinners in our midst? Or rather, who among us are not publicans and sinners?

This week I’m tender, and this week I echo my brother Alma, O thou Jesus, son of God, have mercy on me. A prayer and a hope that is perhaps a simple acceptance of the very best dinner invitation ever: Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Comments

  1. YAY KAREN!! We’ve missed your posts. Come for dinner in Seattle with Aaron and me.

  2. Yes. You’ve got the idea. We are all sinners — all beggars at the table. And he loves us anyhow and will give us everything will will accept, up to and including all that he has and is.

    Quite good news.

  3. Ed Snow says:

    Amen, Sister Karen, Amen.

  4. Aaron Brown says:

    Karen’s gonna be in Seattle? When?

    Aaron B

  5. Aaron, you misunderstood, I’ll only be there if Jesus is too.

  6. Bro. Jones says:

    Jesus would never go to Seattle, get real. :) I kid, I kid. Thanks for the post, Karen, nicely put.

  7. Elisabeth says:

    This is wonderful, Karen. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I’ll be thinking of this scripture today at Church, although my calling is in Primary, and working with the children has been a great comfort and strength to me.

  8. Thanks, Karen. I need to be reminded of that.
    Sometimes, I do indeed get all self-righteous, and my ego also gets in the way, and I commit the sin of being judgemental. And a good slap upside the head is what I need at those times. Thank you Karen, for delivering said metaphorical slap, and reminding me that sitting in judgement on one’s fellow human being is dead wrong.

  9. Lamonte says:

    Karen – Your message is so timely for me. Yesterday at church I had feelings that I was totally out of sync with my fellow church members. I felt distant and compeletely isolated in my thoughts and feelings. It has been just five years since I was released as Bishop of that same ward but now I sometimes don’t feel part of it. It was distrubing to me to feel this way and I prayed silently for a way back to the way things used to be.

    Your message has given me start in the right direction. We are all in need of communion with the Savior and we need to lay our burdens before him. If we do it with a sincere heart he will answer and he will carry us through. Thank you for reminding me of that. I believe your message was an answer to my prayer.

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