We began Supper Church this past Wednesday. Pam made Vegetable Soup, Salad and three people brought a dessert. It was delicious. We then watched a slide show of pictures from this past church year. We saw pictures of Community Day, our Children’s Christmas Pageant, the Food Bank, our Midweek Meal group, and of course Supper Church. We saw lots of pictures. What picture came up the most?
Pictures of people eating.
Yeah, we’re Baptist. We like to eat. But it’s not just that. Table Fellowship goes a long way back in our Christian tradition. After all, Jesus spent a lot of time eating in the Bible. It was one of his favorite things to do. He ate on the hillside with the crowd-the crowd of 5,000 people Jesus fed with 3 loaves of bread and 2 fish. He liked to eat at Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ house to catch a break. He went to a wedding in the village of Cana and feasted alongside his disciples, his family, and the rest of the village. Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ house to eat and Zacchaeus was a tax collector. Jesus also ate dinner at a Pharisee’s house. And before he died Jesus shared the Passover meal with the twelve disciples-Passover lamb and all.
Jesus liked to eat. He liked to eat with his friends. It was how he bonded with them. It was how he discipled them too. Jesus taught them by getting close to them. He taught them parables, sayings and performed miracles. All of these things are instructive, but having a close relationship with his disciples made all the difference. Knowing Jesus personally helped them understand his teachings and helped them follow his example.
The same is true for us. When we are eating we aren’t just putting food in our mouths. We’re talking, we’re visiting, and we’re actually discipling each other. When else are we going to talk about how things are going in our own lives? When else are we going to ask for advice? We can talk to each other other times of course-but there’s something intimate about sharing a meal together around the table.
Eating together might sound trivial but in a church it’s not. It’s vital. Table Fellowship makes a church, a church. We eat in the fellowship hall and we eat in the sanctuary each month for Holy Communion. The challenge for us is to take this one step further and eat in other places together. What if we invited other church members to our homes? What if we shared meals together at home? How would that affect our faith and our community?
Eating together-it’s what Jesus did and it’s what we should do too.