Reflecting on the characteristics of the early church from Acts 2:42-47
Session 6: EATING TOGETHER
The tradition of people eating together and being a sign of God’s kingdom or reign is deeply rooted in our Christian/Jewish history. Celebrated in the psalms and practised in the home, food consumption was always far more than a means to an end.
‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows’ (Psalm 23:5)
The act of eating with others was in itself an expression of friendship, an incorporation of others into the fellowship, a tangible act of hospitality.
Jesus himself was rooted in this same tradition. Jesus shared food with all sorts of people as a sign of the inclusivity of God’s kingdom and so did the early church. Their gatherings to eat together were earthly expressions of the heavenly banquet reinforced time and again in Jesus’ teachings. All were welcome to take part in this basic human yet deeply sacred activity. Following in the footsteps of Jesus, the table fellowship of the early church was warm and accepting.
At first glance the Holy Habit of eating together seems like an easy one. Many of us enjoy eating with family and with friends and this is a good thing to do. But this Habit invites to do more than simply consume food! It asks us to consider how we eat and with whom.
Jesus was often criticized for the company he kept. He chose to take tea with the tax collector the social outcast; he created food indiscriminately for a crowd of 5000 people and more. The gospel stories with food included, invite us to consider the generous love of God and invite us in turn to share what we have with a similar gladness and generosity.
· It’s easy to eat with friends and family, but what about sharing with those we know less well?
·How can we share food with those who use our premises and with the wider community?
·How often do we eat with our neighbours or those down the street?
·Can we share the same aspects of eating together which do not involve food, for those of us who cannot make food the central part of hospitality?
To try this month and afterwards
Saying a prayer or grace before (or after you eat) using a prayer like: ‘Lord grace this table with your presence; make us grateful here and always. Amen’
Try a fast for one day or for half a day to set a little time aside for some reflection
·Support the church’s next meal event eg Bring and Share meal, Harvest Supper etc
Open your home to a neighbour (or two!) for a light supper and see what happens…
Place some extra foods into the Food Bank box either in your local supermarket or in church
We apologize for the lack of recorded sermon. Technical hitch.
Say grace before a meal
Fast for half a day
Support the church's next meal event
Invite a neighbour (or two!) to supper
Donate to your local food bank