Life has been a little weird for me. Maybe weird is a bad description? Maybe unstable is better. Maybe for the first time in my life I am truly grappling with those old words from Paul, “For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.” Romans 7:15 (HCSB).
Is the visceral understanding of these words adulthood? Or sainthood?
I’m running around repeating questions,
“How is it already 2017?”
“It is March already?”
“Wait – today is already the first day of Spring?”
And if I’m being completely honest, the one I said most recently to my husband, “I’m giving up TV for lent!” To which he responded, “You know we are halfway through lent, right?”
NO. No I did not. Which was predictably followed by, “How is it almost Easter?”
For reasons I do not fully understand I feel halted in many of the big plans and ideas I had for 2017. Some of it is laziness. Some of it confusion. Some of it is fear. Some of it is intentional, I’m sure. All of it I keep shoving back in front of God. I’m wondering if we’re playing some ethereal game of hot potato. He gives and it feels too weighty or bright. I get confused and throw it back, “No, you have it.”
But back to Paul’s words. Lately, there’s all these things I get stirred by. Especially with the state of our world. I’ll hear a news story, or read statistics or do a little research and internally my position is all, “What?! SOMEBODY BETTER HOLD MY EARRINGS.” But the reality of my life right now is that while I’m geared up on the inside, I have done exactly zero on the outside. I may have signed a petition or two here and there. I may have shared a tweet. Definitely a comment or 18 expressing solidarity. But now it’s April and I am scratching my head like, “This does not make sense. Why am I not doing what I want to do?”
If grace is an ocean, I’m swimming so deep. No need to throw out a life raft. I’ll stay right here, thank you.
The one thing I can’t help but get right is bringing people to our table. It’s probably because my favorite meal to cook and eat is dinner. It feels so horrifically small right now. That in 24 hours in a day I can get only this one aspect right most of the time.
But at the end of the day I can muster a paltry invite, come and eat. I call it out to neighbors. I call it out to Jeremy. I call it out to myself. Jesus was supremely interested in gathering around the table. We see him eating in more scenes in the Bible than we could have imagined before his visitation. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because he knew at the table our need for nourishment highlighted our humanness and dependence. At the table we remember how feeble we are. At the table He gives us more than we ever deserved. His broken body. His blood poured out.
If I have learned anything about the power of the meal, it is because I take my queue from God. He fed Elijah after Elijah fled from persecution (1Kings 19). He fed Peter after his haunting denials (John 21:12). And He promises to feed us at the marriage super of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).
So we go to our table in the evening and we break the bread. We take the cup. And we flip to the exact next chapter in Romans. The chapter right after Paul speaks so honestly about doing the exact opposite of what he desires. And there’s this.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
And right there at my table, over my meal, I believe it. And I whisper, “I can’t wait for Easter.”