For the last three night I have been entertaining at my house. And tomorrow evening I am having friends over again. Some people have heard me talking about this and wondered if I am doing too much: giving too much of my time and resources to those I have entertained. That comes from a place of kindness – with the colds I had at Christmas and the recent stomach-flu-from-hell, those who love me are concerned for my health.
But personally, I don’t think there is any such thing as too much (responsible) partying with friends. If you were to read through the Gospel According to Luke, you would find that Jesus barely takes three steps before sitting down to another meal with some friends, dignitaries, or prostitutes and tax collectors.
I think Jesus knew there is something beautiful about sharing a meal with others. There is something wonderful that happens when people sit at table together.
I don’t think it is any mistake that one of the sacraments that we hold dear in all branches of the Christian church has to do with Jesus’ final meal – the last party that he had with his friends. (I love that Derek Webb describes communion this way: “and we’ll have us a party, where all the drinks are on me [Jesus], and surely as the rising sun, you shall be set free”)
I think Jesus had a party theology. I think he loved gathering people together around a meal and sharing laughter and stories and connections that make us truly human.
I love it when churches adopt a party theology, too. One where their deepest desire is to serve others well and to make sure that they know they are loved and cared for, that they are welcome.
Party theology means having a generous heart – wanting to invite in those who might otherwise be left out, wanting to share what we have with others. To me, it sounds a little Heavenly!