Posted by: gmscan | November 29, 2011

Some Thanksgiving Reflections, Part Two

“Have you anything here to eat?”

What I really wanted to talk about regarding Thanksgiving is the meal itself. Too many of us have lost the art of dining together with our families, friends and neighbors. Over the years my most enjoyable evenings have been having people over for dinner. Good food sparks good conversation and bonds people in a way nothing else does.

Jesus knew this and many of his most important moments while he was with us involved eating. There was the Lord’s Supper, of course, but there was also feeding the 5,000 (Matthew 14:15-21; Mark 6:35-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:5-13), the feeding of the 4,000 (Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-9), several meals with the Pharisees (Luke 7:26-50; Luke 11:37-52, Luke 14:1-6), dining with Levi and the tax collectors (Mark 2:15-17; Luke 5:27-32). His first miracle was at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11) and one of the parables was about a wedding feast (Matthew 22:1-14). Even the Lord’s Prayer involves eating – “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Even when Jesus visited the disciples after his resurrection he ate with them. John reports:

“When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast. “ Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.”  (John 21:1-14)

And Luke tells us that Jesus dined with the two on the road to Emmaus:

“When he was at table with them, he took the bread and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:30-31)

And immediately before his ascension:

“And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it before them.” (Luke24:41-43)

The disciples continued this tradition after Christ’s ascension. The Book of Acts reports the disciples eating together in fellowship:

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

And:

“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7)

The seven were chosen because the Apostles said:

“It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.” (Acts 6:2)

Eating is essential to life, but it is also an opportunity for fellowship, for teaching,, and for prayer. It is odd to me that we do not build worship around it. Yes, there is the sacrament of Holy Communion, and that bonding with Christ is essential. But I wonder of we don’t miss opportunities to bond with one another.

As far as I can see few members of my church dine together. We see each other on Sunday and we may participate in journey groups or committee meetings, but these moments lack the intimacy of breaking bread together, of “reclining at table.” It would lead to a deeper relationship to have dinner together in a spirit of worship and learning. I’m not talking about mass meals, but intimate dinners of six or eight people where the conversation can flow.

This is not a proposal, just a thought. We must eat and we must worship. Why not combine the two as the Lord did?

 

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Greg,
    My wife and I have been inviting couples to eat lunch with us after church. We have gotten to know some of the church deacons better and also our pastor and his wife. Maybe if eating together is not too common in your church, you can start the trend.
    Jerry

  2. It works very well in our church. The small groups often gather for a meal. Even Session meetings start with a meal. We have a program called “wine and the word”. We gather in someone’s home, have a meal, do some wine tasting (it is California after all), and have some Word to go with.

    It really DOES build community.

  3. My wife is a regular blogger on the impact of New Testament patterns on modern day house church movements. Just a couple of days ago she blogged on the vital importance of meals as a part of church planting. I think that you will find her comments at http://www.simplychurch.com for 11-26 directly relate to all that is being discussed here.

  4. […] 1Some Thanksgiving Reflections, Part Two « Greg Scandlen's American Awakening SUBMIT […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: