At God's Table
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
Are there parts of yourself that you hold in contempt or try to hide?
Do you ever overemphasize your “pretty parts” to your own detriment?
There is an approach in psychotherapy known as “internal family systems.” At Kaleid, we love it when the Scriptures illuminate and reinforce what is working for people in life’s most practical places...in our inner work, in our homes, and in our communities.
Jesus’ parables are layered places where we can locate ourselves and our practical struggles because the “characters” can (and often do) symbolize various aspects of an inner and outer world that we know well and encounter every day.
“The Parable of the Great Banquet” tells the story of a King inviting special guests to a fine, meticulously-prepared banquet. When each invited guest begs off because they are too busy being productive, important, and attentive to the new and beautiful in their lives, the King gets frustrated and throws the invitation wide open. Every “poor, crippled, blind, and lame” person is called into the party, while the invited guests are left to their own devices and excluded from the amazing feast.
We can read the story on its surface and find Jesus opening the door of welcome to the poor as well as the prominent and encouraging us to do the same.
We can also read the story from the perspective of our internal family systems. We can read as a woman whose inner world is composed of parts we think of as being “worthy” and parts we like to hide or deny. Each one of us is made up of a variety of internal invitees to God’s great feast of loving welcome.
There are the busy and prideful parts of us.
And there are the battered and pained parts of us.
God’s great feast of loving welcome is for all of our parts.
When we sit with the parable and consider that the busy and prideful parts of us sometimes play keep away from God’s gracious invitation, we can stop to let those parts settle down and sit at God’s table of love.
When we sit with the parable and consider that the burdened and pained parts of us sometimes need to be brought into God’s gracious invitation on purpose, we can lovingly guide those parts to their place at God’s table of love. Every part is welcome. Every part is graced, fed, loved, seen, and invited at God’s table of love. No part is more highly regarded by God’s love than another. And so...
This table is where we can heal.
This table is where we can relax.
This table is where we can allow the parts of ourselves to resolve into wholeness, not because of our work to fix or hide or compensate, but because of God’s unbridled invitation to “eat at the feast in the Kingdom of God.”
We are so grateful to be learning these things together in our contemplative mornings.
If you’d like to do the imaginative prayer practice that we did last week with this parable, click here.
If you’d like to join us for the next contemplative circle on The Lord’s Prayer, we would love to have you! We’ll begin on September 29th and meet every Wednesday morning at 6:30 for 45 minutes on zoom. The circle will go for seven weeks. Register here!
The Kaleid Team
Also, for more on Internal Family Systems and Christian therapy, we recommend the book Boundaries for Your Soul.