Place at the Table
By Dean Greer This Sunday we at Desert Stream Ministries bring our Living Waters Training to the Theology of the Body community. I remember my first time with the TOB Institute, over twelve years ago. I attended one of Christopher West’s week-long immersion courses with Andrew and immerse we did, right into the Catholic world!
He and I were the lone Protestants in the mix. It was the most in-depth Catholic event I had experienced. I was a tourist visiting a new culture with a new language. I learned key insights that I still find valuable. Pope St. John Paul II’s take on human sexuality stands alone in excellence. Yet some stuff that week was foreign and startling. Honestly, I was very grateful to return to my familiar Vineyard community where Desert Stream began long ago.
Unlike me, Andrew converted to Catholicism, and that rocked the world of Living Waters. The curriculum has changed. My role has changed. My co-workers have changed.
While praying about all the changes Catholicism has introduced to DSM, the Lord gave me a picture.
I saw an enormous dining hall with a banqueting table set for a grand feast. The master of the house came in and declared, “We need a bigger table! There are many more to feed!”
His staff were irritated at the extra work required. “Things were great the way they were! Why do we need to bring in other people we don’t know?”
Then the master of the house said, “We need to prepare food they prefer, in a way that’s familiar to them.”
The staff began to work, but quietly murmured to the steward about the difficulty the master had caused. Some were angry for not being consulted. Some thought there should be two tables. Sadly, some decided to leave.
This describes well what has taken place since Andrew’s conversion to Catholicism.
It’s been difficult to make changes for Catholic brothers and sisters. We need a spirit of patience and flexibility and openness to new and different ways of seeing Christian reality. We must make room for others’ perspectives, even if we disagree. It requires that we share a table with foreigners with foreign table manners. It requires humility.
But oh the feast Jesus invites us to share. With each training more Catholics come, and the feast becomes richer, more savory, and more satisfying. Each time we gather, I am reminded that Living Waters is a ministry of reconciliation for the whole church (2 Cor. 5:17-21). Not everyone is willing to share the feast, but those who do feast like kings.