Thursday, April 14, 2022

Maundy Thursday Table Hospitality


In honor of today’s liturgical holiday, Maundy Thursday, I give you wise words from theologian & church historian Diana Butler Bass about Jesus' inclination to offer table hospitality.

Also, I post again a picture book that expresses extravagant hospitality (for a party). It’s the latest PBT Grab & Go book (Xander’s Panda Party)! These  you can literally grab & go, trusting there are many theological connections.

At the end of this post, I give a shortcut for finding more books about table hospitality at PBT! 

Here is a key paragraph from Butler Bass’ post, but if you want to read her entire post, click here.

Jesus loved meals. They (those with him at his last supper) knew that. They’d had so many together. Go back through the gospels and see how many of the stories take place at tables, distributing food, or inviting people to supper. Indeed, some have suggested that Jesus primary work was organizing suppers as a way to embody the coming kingdom of God. Throughout his ministry, Jesus welcomed everyone — to the point of contention with his critics — to the table. Tax collectors, sinners, women, Gentiles, the poor, faithful Jews, and ones less so. Jesus was sloppy with supper invitations. He never thought about who would be seated next to whom. He made the disciples crazy with his lax ideas about dinner parties. All he wanted was for everybody to come, to be at the table, and share food and conversation. 

PBT Grab & Go #20

Picture Book: Xander’s Panda Party

AuthorLinda Sue Park

Illustrator: Matt Phelan

: In very clever verse, Park captures the frustrations of planning a party. Xander wants to have a party. He carefully creates his invitation, menu, and guest list. As he invites various species of animals at the zoo, he realizes important species are being left out. For instance, Xander begins by inviting other bears. The koala "bear" protests, complaining that being a marsupial, not a bear, means she's not invited. So Xander expands his guest list to include all mammals. At other times, animals who are invited complain, that their cross-species friends can't come. Rhinoceros says, 

"It may sound a bit absurd, 
but I won't come without my bird." 
Similar guest list conundrums arise, but Xander's hospitable nature has him expanding the species of animals he will invite. Eventually, all creatures are invited to Xander's party, even the humans at the zoo.

Hanna’s Comments: Animal taxonomy (how species are organized) is explored throughout this delightful story so your children might learn a little science while hearing about being more inclusive and hospitable. The author also offers a note at the end with some history about animal taxonomies. For these reasons, this book would be a wonderful part of an elementary science lesson on animal classification. Homeschools or private schools could connect this story to The Parable of the Banquet Guests or the spiritual practice of hospitality. It would be an excellent read-aloud in a worship service, especially when hospitality is the theme. Point out how Panda is also using his empathy skills, an important part of loving neighbors as directed in the scriptures. 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Clarion Books, 2013 

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up 

Available in Spanish? Not at present 

Formats other than Book: Tablet

Scripture Connections: Treat the stranger as a native (Leviticus 19:34); Love your neighbor (Mark 12:31); Parable of the Banquet Guests (Luke 14:15-24); show hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book in a lesson or as part of a sermon on the importance of inclusion, avoiding exclusive practices, and practicing hospitality.

From The Doorbell Rang by Hutchins
For more picture books about table hospitality, go to the search box and type in  "table hospitality."

                        From Bear Says Thanks by Wilson & Chapman

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