There are many reasons people have concocted ways to keep people out. Subtly even the beginning phrase, “When you have more than you need..” suggests it is only when you have more than you need that you build a longer table. The reality is, hospitality is not always convenient, and even when we do not feel as if we have more than we need, inviting others to our table reminds us – or astonishes us that we have enough – even more than enough.
Surely the Parable of the Good Samaritan does not pose the Samaritan as having had more than he needed. The suffering, needs, and poverty of others is inconvenient and yet necessary in order to be humane. Jesus tells this story in answer to the question, “who is my neighbour?” and His answer bewilders those who have justified building walls of exclusion. Jesus addresses the real question: “to whom am I a neighbour?”
There is no doubt that to those who have been given much, much will be required. But do those who have much recognize the ultimate source of their wealth? Alas, the rich never really know how rich they (we) are.
During this time of world conflict may we consider ways of inviting others to our table.
As Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed:
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.
This coming Easter may we find ourselves building longer tables.