Soul Food Advent Blog Series 2018: 'Room at the Table'
Guest blogger: Rachel Moreland
Growing up in the comforts of middle class America, my interpretation of Church was broadly defined by my experience of mostly white, financially stable, socially respectable suburban-dwelling, Republican-voting Christians.
Faith was a vague currency that I would periodically cash in with the hopes that my genie-like God would answer my fervent prayers.
To be a Christian was to live a safe, comfortable and ‘blessed’ life.
As a result, and to my detriment, I often found myself sitting at the table with the same kinds of people. The clean-shaven, white-collar, addiction free, mentally stable, middle class homeowners in town.
There is no shame in coming from an upper middle-class family; working in a white-collar job; or owning your own home.
After all, the Church is made up of all kinds of people because Jesus loves all kinds of people.
Everyone has a seat at the table.
The white, the black, the gay, the straight, the Republican, the Democrat, the sober, the addict, the homeowner, the rough sleeper. Jesus loves them all and He came to earth to die for every one of them.
However, from the wave of anti-immigration rhetoric to the increase of rough sleepers on the streets; narrative of ‘the other’ pervades our culture. We are asked to pray for ‘the other’ yet associating ourselves with ‘the other’ is too far outside of our comfort zone. We are building walls to keep ‘the other’ out; to leave ‘the other’ to mop up his own self-inflicting mess of addiction or homelessness.
Church, we must ask ourselves: are we ready for God to break into our comfortable, middle-class lives and to disrupt our understanding of what it truly means to love one another?
What would it really look like if we, the Church, loved the city?
If we want to see God’s Kingdom come, for heaven to come down to earth; then we must be prepared for God to come in and disrupt our lives; to surrender our perfect seating plan over to Father God.
We must learn how to make space and welcome ‘the other’ – people whom society says are beyond redemption; the ones that Jesus also came to save – to have a seat at our table.
Will you join me in making room?
Rachel Moreland is an American expat living in Edinburgh, Scotland. She works for homeless charity, Bethany Christian Trust, as their Marketing and Media Team Lead. She is also a writer, digital media buff and aspiring author. You can read more of her work about faith and mental health over on her blog, With love from Rachel.
When Rachel isn’t writing, you can find her most days searching for that perfect cup of coffee in a cosy café, planning her next travel adventure and enjoying life with her husband, James.