This Sunday night we will ask the question, “Why do we share a meal together?”
I guess I feel like I should be asking the question why places and groups that call themselves community DON’T eat together. As I was looking back over the Biblical story, I couldn’t really find a command that said, “Thou shalt eat meals together when you gather as a community.” Maybe it’s just that gathering together for a meal was simply a given. I think of the Earlier Testament where Abraham and so many more almost automatically seek to feed and provide for those who visit their homes. It was an honor thing… you give someone a meal when they are in your home.
The Newer Testament seems to shout even louder of the notion of eating together. Jesus used parables and stories so many times about throwing banquets, who is invited, and what it is like when we celebrate the kingdom of God here and now (even later, as he prepares a place for us… I can only think food is included!). He invited himself over to people’s houses for dinner all the time. Zacchaeus, especially was effected when Jesus said, “Hey, man, I’m having dinner at YOUR house!” And he ate with everyone… even the ones who disagreed with him most.
But what about communities? What about gathering times that some would call church… and others would fight to avoid calling church? Why do we eat together? I think it really comes down to honoring each other, serving each, and taking the time to settle in together. I know for me, nothing makes me feel more special than to know someone put in hours of work to make something that I am enjoying… immensely. And when I am cooking for someone else… there is not much that gives me more delight than to see people smile and say, “This is DELICIOUS!” Sharing meals together have become a very sacred thing for our community and I wonder what other people will add to my strong affirmation.