Last Thursday was pancake day in the school lunchroom. My son, TJ, not only begged to have hot lunch that day, but also insisted that his dad come and have pancakes with him. Always willing to forfeit lunch making duties, and to make Jason sit at the little table, I obliged.
At 11:10 the kindergarteners filed into the lunch room with one oversized five-year-old in line with them. Jason got his tray, asked for pancakes, picked bacon over sausage, and stopped for syrup at the condiment table. He and TJ then joined 26 others at a pint-sized cafeteria table. After conversations about nerf guns and lego possibilities waned, there was an odd silence at the table.
Suddenly Jake, a kid who usually smiles much and says little, turned to Jason with a small whisper. “Can I tell you something?,” he asked.
“Sure,'” Jason responded, having no idea what Jake needed to tell him.
“Hot lunch here is so good, ” he began,”it’s so good that sometimes I throw my sack lunch in the garbage and pretend I don’t know what happened to it just so I can eat hot lunch instead.”
Before Jason knew it, there was a flood of confessions about lunches lost, tossed, and left on the counter all for the sake of the forbidden fruit (aka cafeteria food.)
Chloe, whose spunk far outweighs her petite size, jumped into the conversation. “I just leave my lunch at home and tell my mom I forgot it so that I can have hot lunch. I love the food here.”
Matthew, whose charm is sure to carry him through life, just gave his usual grin and nodded.
Most surprising was Jackson, the model child, who simply added to the topic. “Hot lunch is just that good . . . .”
TJ agreed with his friends and told Jason he had tried to hide his lunch box, but never fully pulled it off.
Jason just took it all in, awed by the honesty.
What in that moment elicited such an outpouring? Jason had left his priestly robe and white-collar at home that day. He never stood on the table screaming repent or burn. He didn’t even promise extra jello salad in exchange for secrets. He simply walked in their line, ate at their table, and talked about their toys. But that was enough.
It was enough for them to forget that he was ten times their size, knew their parents, and yielded power greater than any tattle. It was enough to make him one of them, to make him safe, to make him accessible.
We are told to come to God’s throne of grace . . . boldly . . . as we are. Why? Because God became one of us. He walked where we walk, suffered as we suffer, was tempted as we are tempted. It is not a command shouted from a table top, it is an invitation. Certainly He is bigger than us, knows even the things we don’t want him to, and He has great power. But he is also accessible and safe.
I know that the humanity and deity of Christ is a subject that is deeper than pancakes and cafeteria tables, but the repercussions of God being made flesh and dwelling amongst us are not complicated. We know and are known by a God who gets it. We come boldly because when we talk about how good the cafeteria food is, He understands.
Come . . . walking or running . . . on hands and knees even.
Boldly . . . without fear or guilt . . .without any hesitation.
To the throne of grace . . . tell Him whatever you need to . . . He’s got it covered.