I love to eat! If you know me, this is no big surprise. I facilitate spiritual formation with a group of seminary students. Last Sunday evening we all met for dinner. We closed out the restaurant. It was a wonderful time to eat and laugh and share our lives with one another.
In any culture and in any time, food and fellowship seem to always go together. Relationships are built around meals. I don’t know of any culture that doesn’t celebrate a wedding by following it up with a meal. From the time I was a child, I can remember my maternal grandmother’s family having annual family reunions. The food was amazing and there was always plenty of it. When Britt and I were in seminary, our choice between beginning our ministry in Ohio or Pennsylvania was partly influenced by one District Superintendent who took us to dinner. I don’t even remember his name anymore. But what I do remember is that, when our class scheduled prevented us from attending dinner with the rest of the group, he chose to remain in Dayton for an extra day for the sole purpose of taking Britt and I out to dinner. I remember him saying that he did not want to miss an opportunity to break bread with us.
When I lived in Gary, the local synagogue celebrated a community Seder every year. I always looked forward to that meal. There was the Rabbi and Temple members, of course. But there were also pastors, imams, local business owners, local community leaders, your friends and your neighbors; racial and ethnic variety. It was true and authentic diversity.
I imagine we don’t do enough eating together anymore. An interesting survey I saw a while back indicated that Christian families are less likely to eat dinner together than non church goers. That’s kind of discouraging. It’s tough to be angry with someone while you’re eating a good meal together. The world might be a little kinder, a little gentler, if we took more time to eat with one another.
During Lent this year at Trinity, I’m doing a sermon and study series called Table Talk. Along with sermons and online devotions, we’re going to gather for lunch right after church every Sunday. It’ll be soup and bread; simple, but warm comfort food. We’re going to look at stories from the bible, talk about them, and get to know one another a little better. I’m looking forward to it. If anyone out there is interested, come by and join us for lunch at 404 North 6th Street in Lafayette.