My family and I are the most non-conventional preacher’s family and preacher. We don’t try to be at every church function, and we don’t try to look like what most congregation’s think their preacher and his family should look like. As a matter of perspective, I don’t view myself, first, as a preacher, but as a Christian. My wife and children aren’t made to dress, speak, or act a certain way because I happen to be a preacher. This was something my wife and I agreed upon when I entered the ministry. We’d please God first and wouldn’t care about what a congregation or other Christians thought. This has been and continue’s to be our modus operandi.
My daughter sits with kids at lunch who differ from those we typically see in church. One of them identifies as a gender other than what they biologically are, and another proclaims that they are homosexual. Why would my daughter, who happens to be a Christian whose father is a preacher, eat with such people, some may wonder? The answer is very simple.
I was brought up, in my earliest years, by a single mother who taught me to be kind to everyone no matter how different they were. This has been something that my wife and I have passed on to our children. Initially, I confess, we were worried about these associations simply because “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). We were fearful, as any conservative parent might be that these other youths and their proclivities might influence our daughter in a way contrary to our Christian convictions. What were we to do? I simply had a discussion with my daughter.
I asked her why she sat with those two at lunch. She replied, “They were the only ones to invite me to sit with them the first day of school.” You see, we have just moved to our current location. We’ve been here since mid-June. My freshman daughter began her academic year in a new, public, and larger school compared to the one in our last location. She had a few contacts through church and from when we lived in the area five years ago. However, for someone her age, a lot changes in five years. These kids invited her to sit with them, and because they were so nice, she obliged.
Upon learning about two of them and their inclinations, she didn’t recoil. She did what her mother and I had instilled in her to do. They talked about these matters among themselves, and my daughter expressed her Christian views. Those views consisted of her not agreeing with the one being transgender nor the other being homosexual. Despite this disagreement, she showed that, while not condoning this, she also did not see that it should cut off their communications and the common ground they had in being civil to others in a world that’s so often hateful.
I’ll not pretend my daughter is perfect because she’s not. However, this is one area in which she has excelled. We don’t have to agree with another’s life choices, but we can always be kind to everyone no matter what. My daughter eats with these kids because they, not anyone else, extended to her the kindness of a seat at the table. Now, she can conduct herself in a Christ-like manner so that the world, which often vilifies the Christian worldview, can see the love of Jesus.
When I think about the Lord’s Table, I see the same thing. We gather around that wonderful table to partake of the Lord’s Supper, many of us not being tempted by another’s temptation nor even sinning other’s sins. Here we are at the table of reconciliation. We’re reconciled first to our God, and then to one another. The Table is the place where barriers are broken and bridges built, physically and spiritually. To God be the glory.