Who’s At the Table?

WHO’S AT THE TABLE? – TASTE & SEE – SERMON RESOURCES

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ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP

This week, we were invited to acknowledge our need, and to practice the act of confession in order to step into solidarity with the needs of those around us. Confession is not a practice intended for us to beat ourselves up over our inadequacies, or to dwell on how terrible we are. It is instead a way of bringing us into deeper understanding of our absolute reliance on God, and our desire to live in a way that is in step with the Kingdom of Heaven in which everyone is given a place at the table. Dallas Willard writes that confession “will nourish our faith in God’s provision for our needs through his people, our sense of being loved, and our humility before our brothers and sisters.” It is, he says, a precursor to real relationship with God and those around us.

As you prepare to confess to God, settle yourself in a peaceful place. Acknowledge Jesus’ deep and complete love for you, and take a few moments to rest in that truth. Now, allow your confession to come forth as naturally as possible. What has been weighing on your heart? Try to focus particularly on ways that you have been less than compassionate toward others, or ways that you have denied those around you a place at the table. These need not be concrete things that you have done wrong. Instead, look for subtle dispositions of the heart— perhaps pride in your own self-sufficiency, judgment of those around you, or maybe simple feelings of jealousy or greed. Take a moment to sit with the discomfort of these feelings, and then release them into God’s hands with the intention of letting go of these thoughts, actions, and dispositions completely. It may be helpful to end with a prayer adapted from Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and uphold within me a willing spirit.

Before you end your time of confession, take a moment to receive God’s “steadfast love” and “abundant mercy.” Know that through Jesus, we have all been washed and made clean (Ps. 51:7).

Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: spiritual.practices@annarborvineyard.org.

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