I chose the commercial "Eat Together." In this commercial, the young lady is acutely aware of her surroundings; we aren't sure if this has been a recent awakening, or if she has reached her threshold of annoyance. Watching her neighbors pay no attention to her or anyone else as they separate and go their ways, she walks into her apartment, where another female greets her with silence.
She is angry, confused, tired, annoyed, but determined. As the scene transitions from her disapproval, we see her, and her companion walks into the hallway to set the scene for the next act. They are setting the table for the next round of neighbors to come home, and they are going to create some new, something that is radical. The residents are blind-sided. The residents inside their dwellings are oblivious, while the residents coming off the elevator are caught off guard.
I am drawn to the story of Jesus and the night before his betrayal. It moves me because Jesus was going to do something that no one would see coming. We see many emotions from Jesus, but the one that resonates that loudest with me is determination.
His determination of radical hospitality opens the door and sets the table at the feet of the disciples. This commercial moved me to think about the people who will be at our table this week as we celebrate a great feast, a feast that is full of hospitality. It is a meal that brings us together, a place where we sit around the table and catch up on stories and laugh at the silly dad jokes. It also moved me to think of the people who aren’t at the table. The empty chair makes me think about the loved ones who have died or the broken relationships that are so fractured that being with one another is impossible.
Jesus didn't break the bread and share the wine in the temple; he sat in the loft of an ordinary building and proceeded to do something extraordinary. There is a slow build-up as the disciples’ eyes see Jesus walking around the room and begins to transition his posture to that of a servant. Jesus is abundantly sharing of himself, pouring himself out as a gift for the world. Everyone in that room was transformed that night, and there was no going back because God was on the move.
In these moments of transformation, our relationships change. In this commercial, the table was set; the invitation was an “open invitation” where everyone was welcome. The host was going to share radical hospitality in a narrow hallway that became wide enough for everyone to feel welcome. Curiosity draws the neighbors to the feast, the generosity of the community sustained their fellowship, and as the flock was well attended, the child went looking for the missing. The table became the altar, and there was a fulfillment in serving one another, breaking bread and seeing each other for who they indeed are, our neighbors.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, think about the empty chair and the person or people who are missing from the table. We pay tribute and give thanks to the saints who witnessed and wore their faith as a testimony to the world. Think about the relationships that might be fractured and need mending, what is missing and what might you need to help reconcile the brokenness of the relationship. Jesus’ invitation is extravagant, and open, and real, a beautiful gift that is full of determination and given with an abundance of love.