“One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table.” Luke 7:36
The line of people snaked halfway down the block as they waited for the doors to open. A cold winter wind bit at their faces and numbed their feet. Heavy clouds in the steely gray sky hovered low and silent, poised to attack again with spitting sleet and indifferent inches of snow. The more than 80 people waited not for a department store’s sales, nor for Hollywood’s latest blockbuster. They awaited a hot bowl of soup and a cold cheese sandwich–and maybe an hour or two of warm respite from winter.
They are nameless women, unschooled children, jobless fathers. The motives of the Pharisee who invited Jesus home for dinner are unknown. Hospitality? Status? A chance to learn from the itinerant rabbi? Whatever the reason, Jesus was invited in and he took his place at the table, just as he does in the soup kitchen, amid his friends.
This message is adapted from a devotion written for Women of the ELCA in 2004. Today we remember Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe, witnesses to the faith.