thirteen

So welcome each other, in the same way that Christ also welcomed you,
for God’s glory.
Romans 15:7 (CEB)

If you google “Why is the number 13 unlucky?” you receive an answer related to Judas being the 13th person around table at the Last Supper. I don’t know what I expected, but this wasn’t it. Certainly, there were others around the table that night even if da Vinci doesn’t document them. Peter refers to people who had been with them the whole time in Acts 1. I doubt they were excluded that evening.

I was surprised to see this as the top hit for unlucky 13 because the first thing I thought of when I received today’s prompt was the 12 disciples (since I eat gluten-free, it wasn’t the free doughnut in a baker’s dozen). I’ve never thought of Jesus and his group numbering 13. It’s always Jesus and the 12 disciples.

Like da Vinci, we often think of just the 12 disciples. But the biblical witness tells us there were more. In addition to Acts 1, Luke 8 also names women who were with Jesus the whole time. It was never just 12. There is always a +1.

Regardless of whether you think of 13 as unlucky or not, 13 is only 12+1. It’s not 12 that’s the important number but the +1. When we gather, Jesus is always our +1.

13 is only 12+1. It’s not 12 that’s the important number but the +1. Click To Tweet

five minutes are up

Jesus’ presence with us is of course the most important thing. But almost as important (and maybe more so because it’s in our control) is that we don’t limit who is at the table thinking there is a perfect number – or an unlucky one.

Peter’s decision to restore the iconic 12 was only possible because there were other disciples to choose from. Jesus didn’t limit the guest list. He welcomed Judas at his table. Some might think this was unlucky, but Jesus didn’t seem to think so. Maybe Judas was Jesus’ +1.

My dinner table seats 12. Several years ago, we had a dinner party that created a group of 13. We could have left out the single person among the couples, but then we would have been incomplete. So, we pulled another chair up at the end. 13 might have be an uncomfortable number, but everyone was able to eat together at the table.

Whether at our dinner table or our communion table, may we always pull up another chair.  There is always room from one more.

So welcome each other, in the same way that Christ also welcomed you, for God’s glory. – Romans 15:7 (CEB) Click To Tweet

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Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for WorshipPrayers for the People is a collection of prayers for worship. These prayers offer the worshipping community fresh perspectives for praying the words of Scripture, using current language and references. Cross-referenced to the Revised Common Lectionary, pastors seeking to lead their people in prayer have found a relevant and beautiful source for worship planning.

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