In just under a week, Noel Moules, co-founder of the Anabaptist Network in the U.K. will be joining us in Abbotsford to share 2 days of teaching and fellowship. He wrote a very provocative book last year entitled “Fingerprints of Fire… Footsteps of Peace.” Below is a wonderful excerpt on what subversive table fellowship is, and more importantly he provokes us into thinking what it could look like in our particular time and place. Important words, as it is easy to speak that Jesus shared a meal with prostitutes and other such lowly first century Palestinian folk, and not invite those similarly ostracized by our society to our tables. Myself included.
Needless to say, it is going to be a wonderfully provocative time with Noel Moules here in the Fraser Valley.
Much of his teaching took place during a shared meal; among other things he used its imagery as a picture of the future. He scandalised public opinion by regularly ‘eating with tax collectors and sinners’, shattering social boundaries, affirming access to God without intermediaries and revolutionising the popular ideas of holiness and purity.
One Jewish scholar has noted that this activity above all others is what marked Jesus out from his contemporaries: ‘He took his stand among the pariahs of his world, those despised by the respectable. Sinners were his table companions and the ostracised tax collector and prostitute friends.
To sit at table with someone is an expression of intimacy and fellowship, to invite someone to a meal is to honour them and express trust and acceptance. In this way prostitutes find forgiveness; tax collectors are liberated from their ill-gotten wealth and inspired to distribute it to the poor and the hungry are fed. this is our example.
What would subversive table fellowship in your neighbourhood look like?
Noel Moules, “Fingerprints of Fire… Footsteps of Peace: A Spiritual Manifesto from a Jesus Perspective” page 168.