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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Today’s Reading | Matthew 9:9–13

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (NRSV)

When I was growing up, holidays were always such an exciting time for me—whether it be excitement over some school days off, getting to open a bunch of carefully wrapped presents, seasonal music I could only play once a year, or the big family meals that always seemed to manifest themselves amazingly while I was playing with relatives in another part of the house. Oh, those meals! The smells would waft through the house all day, the result of what seemed, from the other part of the house, like a minute amount of effort from my mother, grandmother, or any other family member who arrived and was a distinctly trained member of the “kitchen club” (you weren’t really allowed in there on holidays unless you were a member: steadfast kitchen rules).

After hours (and sometimes days, I realized many years later) of work was completed, the mélange was spread, and all would gather at the table. We had our normal dinner table for the four of us to dine at each morning and evening, but at a holiday gathering the table grew just about as much as the amount of extras it needed to hold. Tons of extra food, extra relatives, extra kids, extra everything—with each added piece and some quick shifting around, the table seemed to grow even bigger. It was cramped, undoubtedly every season, but everyone was always welcome: no latecomers uninvited, no kiddie table in the next room, no one turned away. And without fail, every single time, all of us fit perfectly.

Lord, help me to remember there is always room at your table, no matter sinner or saint, and that I will always be fed with your knowledge and everlasting love. Amen.

Written by Ryan Loeckel, Coordinator for Music

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