The Words on the Bumper
I sometimes play a game inside my own head.
I try to figure something out that I see in front of me.
Many times I can arrive at an answer.
Sometimes, the meaning escapes me.
The person has driven away before I had a chance to really think about it.
I am always frustrated when that happens.
Just another minute, I say to myself.
Those words are said in vain as the car drives away.
I enjoy figuring out license plates.
I enjoy the riddle that many of them are to me.
Sometimes, they are quite obvious.
Other times, the meaning must be something only the car owner understands.
I tend to read bumper stickers as well.
You can learn quite a lot about a person by the bumper stickers on their car.
You know where their children went to school.
You know what sports their children play.
You know where they have been on vacation.
You know where they stand politically.
You can discern their causes or things they are passionate about.
You can gauge their sense of humor.
I have driven behind people that, at least from their bumper, are much different from me.
If we were put in a room, we would probably not agree ideologically on much.
That would make for interesting conversation.
It would be fascinating to actually talk about some of the things on the back of people’s cars.
My friends know when I am in a particular store because of my car.
Three schools are on the back window.
Two favorite vacation places are on the back.
One large magnet says READ; which says much about me.
I pulled into a parking space and saw a glimpse of a bumper sticker on the car next to me.
I was so sure I knew exactly what it said.
It was a catch phrase from the 60s and 70s.
From my vantage point, as I turned into the space, all I could read were the words: not war.
I remember seeing young people holding up their hands in a peace sign.
I remember this phrase coming our of their mouths.
However, I was wrong.
I did not complete the bumper sticker correctly.
As I turned into the parking space I was finally able to read it.
Make tea not war.
I liked this person already.
Anyone who thought that things could be settled over a cup of tea is my kind of person.
I thought of a quote by C.S.Lewis.
You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.
No wonder I like C.S. Lewis so much; my kind of person.
Can you imagine?
I am not talking about the Mad Hatter’s kind of tea party.
I am not talking about the 10/6 on the side of his hat, which is simply the price tag.
I am not talk about celebrating un-birthdays over a cup of tea.
I am talking about actually sitting long enough to get to know someone.
I am talking about waiting for the water to boil and the tea to steep.
I am talking about opening up a space in time to sit face to face with someone.
That would be particularly helpful if you were sitting near someone with whom you disagree.
Sharing tables is one of the most uniquely human things we do. No other creature consumes its food at a table. And sharing tables with other people reminds us that there’s more to food than fuel. We don’t eat only for sustenance. Tables are one of the most important places of human connection. We’re often most fully alive to life when sharing a meal around a table. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, to find that throughout the Bible God has a way of showing up at tables. In fact, it’s worth noting that at the center of the spiritual lives of God’s people in both the Old and New Testaments, we find a table: the table of Passover and the table of Communion. New Testament scholar N. T. Wright captured something of this sentiment when he wrote, “When Jesus himself wanted to explain to his disciples what his forthcoming death was all about, he didn’t give them a theory, he gave them a meal.” I’m convinced that one of the most important spiritual disciplines for us to recover in the kind of world in which we live is the discipline of table fellowship. In the fast-paced, tech-saturated, attention-deficit-disordered culture in which we find ourselves, Christians need to recover the art of a slow meal around a table with people we care about. “Table fellowship” doesn’t often make the list of the classical spiritual disciplines. But in the midst of a world that increasingly seems to have lost its way with regard to matters of both food and the soul, Christian spirituality has something important to say about the way that sharing tables nourishes us both physically and spiritually.
(The Dinner Table as a Place of Connection, Brokenness, and Blessing, by Barry D. Jones)
Think of all the meals Jesus shared with His disciples.
Think of the Communion table we still come to, together, as the family of God.
Think of the bread and the wine (or juice) that is served there.
Think of how many people, who would normally disagree, enjoy that meal fellowship together.
There is something about a meal.
There is something about a cup of tea.
There is something about opening up a space where we can look into each others eyes.
There in those eyes we see similarities instead of only differences.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
One day, there will be a meal.
It is the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.
We, who are in Christ, will be there.
The One who was wounded for you and for me will be serving.
Make tea not war.
Open up a space to eat together.
Look into the eyes of the wounded Savior and fellowship.
And there will be no war.
And there will be no sickness.
And there will be no death.
And there will be peace.