“For everyone born, a place at the table,
to live without fear, and simply to be,
to work, to speak out, to witness and worship,
for everyone born, the right to be free,
and God will delight when we are creators
of justice and joy, compassion and peace” ~ Shirley Erena Murray
It doesn’t surprise me at all that when thinking about the topic of “The One Body of Christ” I immediately began humming. Several tunes sprung to mind, but the lyrics above really spoke to me. They are from the song “For Everyone Born, a Place at the Table” by Shirley Erena Murray. I have never actually sung this song. The Bells of Grace was preparing to play this piece in the Spring of 2020. It’s a challenging piece filled with accidentals, time signature changes, and syncopated rhythms. All of that technical jargon simply translates to “confusing, difficult, and frustrating.”
In an attempt to seek joy in playing this piece, I dove into reading the lyrics and listening to the tune. While some of the lyrics may feel a bit outdated (the hymn is now 24 years old and language is alive and changing), the verse quoted above still rings true. When we have the conversation about everyone being a part of the body of Christ, we need to explicitly state who those people are: the LGBTQIA+ community; Black, Brown, Indigenous, and People of Color; people with disabilities; Neuro-Diverse folks; those who are poor; immigrants; and other marginalized groups. Historically, those in positions of power have continually sought to “other” those who are different in some way.
Jesus extends the command at the Last Supper for us to love one another as He has loved us. There are no asterisks attached to this commandment. He doesn’t say to only love your neighbors who look like you, think like you, worship like you, or love like you. Everyone is worthy of a place at the table, life without fear, and the right to be…just as God has made them.
Spirit of Life and Love, empower us to invite everyone born to your table. Guide us to seek knowledge and understanding without judgment. Help us to delight in the beautiful diversity of your creation. Amen.
Sarah Rodgers (she/her)
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.