Feng shui — ˈʃweɪ/ fung-SHWAY, formerly /ˈfʌŋ ˌʃuːi/ FUNG-shoo-ee; Chinese: 風水, pronounced [fɤ́ŋ ʂwèi]), or Feng shui, is a Chinese system of geomancy believed to use the laws of both Heaven and Earth to help one improve life. Most often this is applied to building design and extended to interior space design.
It turns out that Paul was a bit of a decorator too. In fact, he also had a fascination with orienting things in the best possible way to allow Heaven and Earth to meet just like those who practice Feng Shui.
As it turns out he was most concerned with tables. Now, he likely didn’t much care about the size or the look of the table (he probably would have been a horrible interior decorator). But in bringing heaven and earth together by encouraging us to orient our tables “on earth as it is in heaven”.
Paul wanted to make sure the whole family could sit together. Others had different ideas. They were wrestling with questions like: Will we let people who disagree on whether or not following Jesus should involve circumcision separate? Can each group of adherents have their own table, so as not to be bothered dialoguing about their differences, but instead simply reinforce one another in what they obviously knew was right?
Paul is trying to live into God’s kin-dom when he argues strongly for diversity at the table. Might it be uncomfortable? Sure. Might it stretch us in ways that we don’t want to be stretched? Uh-huh. But unity in diversity is so much more than a kitschy phrase. It is who and how God is. Three persons one nature. God is diverse. Why, then, we would ever expect that we could ‘overcome’ diversity is a mystery.
God’s kin-dom is one of diversity by design. And so must the table be. Our table must be a place where we have thought well about the art of bringing together heaven and earth through the creation of space for people of all backgrounds. Our table must be a place where we have deliberately made room for those who are not like us. When we do this, when we make room for the ‘other’, we are mirroring radical hospitality and living into the image of the Triune God.
This and so much more on Sunday Funday. See you soon.