Aside from encountering Jesus in the Temple or in a synagogue, or teaching his followers, we meet Jesus most often around the table. Scripture shows that Jesus loved to share a meal, be it a fancy, lounging affair with the upper crust, a simple crust with outcasts and misfits, or a breakfast cookout on the shores of Galilee. The last time Jesus met together formally with his closest friends was over a meal, and there he implored them to continue gathering in this way, until he returned, in remembrance of him. We still heed his call by coming together each month for the Lord’s Supper.
Jesus knew that more went into eating together than just food and drink. He recognized that when we break bread together, we nourish both our bodies and our spirits. Conversations take place over the table, and after a meal, that wouldn’t happen elsewhere. We let our guards down, and come to know one another in deeper and more intimate ways.
Growing up, Mama wouldn’t allow the t.v. to be on during dinner. She insisted that the family visit, and be fully present to one another. At the time, I didn’t appreciate her logic, but I have come to treasure this daily time of checking in, listening, and being revived.
The early church regularly gathered together for ‘love feasts.’ (We might call them potlucks.) It was a time, then as now, for folks to share their food and themselves. All brought and left with what sustained them.
Many churches today have small groups that regularly meet in one another’s homes for food and fellowship. How might this work within the Underwood family? In the coming months, when both Emily and I will be on maternity leave, the church will have a wonderful opportunity to come together and care for each other. Each week, our bulletin reminds us that we are all ministers to one another in this congregation. But how can we minister to one another, if we don’t know the circumstances and details of one another’s lives?
We can, with tables. Imagine groups of four or five families, some single, some elderly, some with young children, some empty nesters, getting together two or three times just to eat together, and to know one another better. You could go to someone’s home, or meet at the park to cook out, or …? If this piques your interest, and you would like to be a part of this, sign up on a pew pad or contact Pastor Jamie. We will gather you into groups, and then you can commence with the meeting and feeding of your bellies, spirits, and minds.
We eat and we are revived, and we give thanks to the lives that were ended to nourish our own. May we merit their sacrifice, and honor their sparks of holiness through our deeds of lovingkindness.
We give thanks to the Power that makes for Meeting for our table has been a place of dialogue and friendship.
May we give thanks to life.
May we never lose touch with the simple joy and wonder of sharing a meal.
~ Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro
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