Paul Anderson,

Reprinted with permission of the author.

This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.

(This message came to me during an unprogrammed meeting for worship with someof our Psy.D. students and faculty members a couple of months ago. I thoughtothers might enjoy it. PA)

Jesus invites us to join him at the foot of the table. From there the worldlooks different. You observe people as their attention is elsewhere fixed,and become impressed with sides of their lives not put forward forpresentation. You come to see people more as they are. Perhaps, a bit morelike God sees them, and in doing so, you become more aware of how they need to be served.

From the head of the table, people may even seem less human. They anticipatefavor and may even work to attain it. And yet, service which comes from the top often goes unappreciated. It "deserves" to be given, and received, andironically is only valued as one goes above and beyond expectation in thatservice. This is why true service is often diminished when coming from thehead of the table. It becomes all too easily used by those affording it ascoin for insuring status and dependence, and it is too easily mistaken forentitlement by those who are served. But from the foot of the table, serviceis pure. It is beyond expectation and has no expectation of return. Genuinelove can be none other.

In that sense, the foot of the table is akin to the foot of the cross. From there (as we have learned from Stan's teaching and example) the world isdifferent. Vested interests? Dead. Ego concerns? Crucified. Aspirations of worth and power? Nailed to the Tree and baptized in the blood of the Lamb.From the foot of the cross we see the paradox of the way God works: that in death comes life, that in releasing comes finding. We also see the world more clearly: the object of the Father's love, for whom Jesus died. And we seeourselves in new light: not as those who earned favor, but as ones receiving it even before we saw our need.

And at the foot of the cross, we see the passion of our Lord, calling us tojoin him in his work. Such an invitation may indeed lead to a cross for eachof us... but it begins with the Lord pulling out a chair for us... at the foot of the table.