The heart of Methodist identity is expressed in our invitations. All people are invited to hear the gospel, to believe it and to participate in what Charles Wesley called “the Gospel Feast.” Mark Stamm opens up this reality to us in his recent book, Let Every Soul Be Jesus’ Guest: A Theology of the Open Table.
I have begun a series of gatherings with clergy, district by district. In these gatherings, we will consider ways to prepare open tables, open hearts, open doors, open minds in our communities. It is our vision to be, in the words of the freedom song, a “welcome table.”
We confess that we have preferred to gather with people like ourselves – with skin like ours, with ideas like ours, with tastes like ours, with possessions like ours. We know that God calls us to a higher, better, richer life.
Let us live with this image: the welcome table. Let us live with this prayer: “let every soul be Jesus’ guest.” Let us live with this vision: God has bid all humankind. Let us live with this invitation: come all the world; come. Let us live with this hope: In Christ a hearty welcome find.