While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
Mark 14:3-6 (NIV)
Jesus’ example of ministry around the table was vast. In fact, we find him around the table many times in the gospels. So much so that Jesus even described himself as “the Son of man who came eating and drinking.” (Luke 7:34) Many times the Pharisees looked down on him and criticized his way of being in community. They would criticize who he sat with, scold that he didn’t wash his hands, remark that he didn’t fast, and even questioned his calling since he allowed sinners to touch him. Yet, Jesus was not dissuaded by their criticism. Yet it was during these encounters that he taught those who would listen how the Kingdom of God was for all. He also intentionally allowed for interruptions to take place. We see it even in this passage, he was sitting at the table of Simon the leper, would the Pharisees have sat at his table even if Simon had been cleansed of leprosy? Maybe, but probably not. At the same time, a woman came to interrupt the dinner and although many were indignant he taught them that those sacrifices done for him are beautiful even if others are enraged by them. So then our tables can become true and safe spaces to share community. Our community is not just with those that invite us to their table, but to the ones that are looked down on or are on the fringe of society. Jesus sought them out and so can we, I believe we will see Jesus in them and we can not help but be changed.