Christians everywhere start thinking through their lunch plans right after the third song each Sunday morning.
Should I go home or eat out?
Where can I go that the kids will cooperate?
Burgers or burritos?
This is a great opportunity, but it’s wasted every single week. We eat because we are hungry and that’s what hungry people do. Throughout Scripture, however, the shared meal was a sacred thing. Eating with one another demonstrates a togetherness.
For many of us we are buried under responsibilities throughout the week. Work, after-school sports, and general busyness all contribute to the national trend of having fewer and fewer close friendships then ever before. We need to be reminded that isolation was not in our design.
How to Go to Church: The Shared Meal
Here are a few ways that my family keeps the table as the centerpiece of community:
- Cook together – Kristan and I sometimes take turns cooking. Other times we will cook together as a family. It’s a fun hobby and even the boys can get involved.
- Use the table – We haven’t had dinner in front of the TV since the boys have been born.
- Tell stories – I think a big reason the TV is so appealing is that we have lost the art of storytelling our days. Although I don’t think the response to the question, “How was your day?” should begin “Once upon a time”, I do believe that we can tell our lives in an engaging day. This takes a little practice, but most of the people we think of as interesting aren’t any more remarkable than the rest of us…they are just better at telling their story.
- Invite others in – Every Tuesday is “Dinner with Friends” night. Sometimes we go out and others we cook, but we make it a priority to share that evening with loved ones in our lives.
- Don’t rush off – Admittedly I sometimes do actually rush off (I have a lot of evening meetings), but we try to do more than just eat at our table. The table isn’t there just to hold up our plates. It is the gathering place where we share our lives, and I’m not in a hurry to cut that short.
The table is important. Many of us don’t have a lot of time to put the attention into dinner we want. We are a busy culture. If there is one day, however, that we should make every effort to interrupt our busyness and eat with purpose it is on Sunday. After all, church isn’t over when the sermon concludes. It is around the lunch table we can share our stories, our laughter, and our lives.
* Tangent: I heard the story today of a pastor who, instead of a tip just left an evangelism tract. Don’t do that! You are making us all look bad. If you insist on leaving a tract, please attach it to a 100$ bill. Christians do not have a high reputation among waitstaff and that is a huge indictment on our faith.