We gather for yoga every Tuesday, to find moments of peace and calm. Today my arms reach up and my eyes gaze on the large window before me. The large stained glass window welcomes me. My balance wavers slightly and I struggle to regain my focus.
It’s an unusual place to find such a large piece of decorative stained glass. That being the church gym/fellowship hall. The deep reds, blues, purple, yellow, and orange illuminated by the setting sun warms this space. Placed high on the wall, the scene depicts Jesus’ Last Supper. Jesus and his disciples sit on one side of the table, bread and wine in front of them, as we sit, yoga poses notwithstanding, at the table, too.
It’s in this space, a gym, with a Last Supper stained glass picture, where women gather for yoga, high schoolers take the ACT, kids play basketball and volleyball, people eat, community worships, and friends gather for birthdays and reunions. It’s a church, gym, community center, and so much more. It’s a place to be with others. It’s a space calling all who enter into a larger story found in the stained glass. The stained glass invites those who look upon it to see their place at the table and know there’s room for them. Jesus is there with his disciples knowing that the table where he sits will lead to his betrayal and death, yet he continues to welcome others to join him. To know his presence and love.
Whenever I enter this space I see the Last Supper. But I also see the light that shines through. A light that pours through Jesus and into the room touching all who enter, whether they know it or not. I’m thankful for the table and my place there with Jesus. I’m thankful for the welcome to come and eat and be fed. I’m grateful that the table provides room for so many. Too often our world chooses to make distinctions about who is welcome, yet each time I look to the stained glass I see in Jesus’ eyes the invitation to join him.
It’s almost Holy Week, the time when we relive the story of Jesus’ last week on earth. The story that turns the world upside down. The story that walks through death to bring about life. So, not only do I look up to the table to see Jesus’ welcome but also the full meaning of what that welcome entails: darkness and death that turns to light and new life.
I’m glad the Last Supper stained glass meets me every time I enter the gym because it’s a reminder I need daily. The welcome that Jesus offers to us doesn’t happen only once but is rather an ongoing invitation to feast on his grace and love; a banquet that never ends.
Wherever you are this week, look for the tables in your midst. Sit down and invite others to join you. Share God’s abundant love and pour it out for the world.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website: http://kimberlyknowlezeller.com or follow her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyKnowleZeller/