- The time in seminary where all of a sudden we had 12 people in our home, and yet it happened to be dinner time. I looked in my cupboards, and I didn’t have very much food, let alone anything glamorous, but I had just gone to the free food day for students, and so I found bags of pasta, meat and sauce.
- Or the time we shared morning coffee and breakfast Sunday mornings with those in our community and this turned into a house church.
- Or the time we invited other seminary students to our home for Fondue night and sat around the pot of hot cheese in our little apt which was now busting at the seams with laughter, shared experiences, life stories, and full cheesy bellies.
- The time we were new to France and asked to be in a community lunch rotation after church. Once a month we had up to 20 people in our home, and we made a 5 course meal to bless our church community. And in return, when we were in their homes and not allowed to help, we were blessed by their hospitality. These meals lasted sometimes 7 hours. We ate lunch, then cheese course, then rested, then served dessert and coffee, then rested some more. These were long, beautiful days.
- Being invited into a new friend’s home in Croatia, where they proceeded to make a feast for us, of grilled meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables, and other Croatian delights. They said they wanted us to know that while we were far from our family, they could be our family. It meant so much to us at that time to be shown that kind of hospitality.
- The time in the French garden, where we dined with our French neighbors who were also our friends. We laughed, spoke in French, and were blessed by our friend’s culinary knowledge and sweet company.
- The ecumenical meal at the Croatian monastery served to us after a time of worship and prayer.
- The Thanksgiving meal where Croatians, a Romanian and Americans come together, and a sense of family is felt and all differences are forgotten in this moment of meal sharing and being together.
- The brunch meal I have in my home for my two friends with wee ones. I share my home and food, and they bring their beautiful babes and remind us of God’s precious gift of life.
I’ve begun reading a book called “A Meal with Jesus”, a recommendation from a Worship Ordination class I recently finished. It is talking about how the book of Luke describes the method in which Jesus came was eating and drinking (Luke 7:34), and not only were these meals not just a metaphor for the Kingdom and an important part of Jesus’ ministry, they were a reality through Jesus’ own feasting. It has caused me to reflect on important meals in my life, and how they have been not just meals, but acts of building community, deepening friendships, extending grace, giving or receiving hospitality, being changed by the other, serving the other, and more. I wanted to write these meals down, so I don’t forget them, and as a reminder and a challenge for me, and maybe for others. Don’t stop having meals with each other in this busy culture you live in. Invite people into your homes, even if it seems you have little to offer, or it seems the house is a mess. Let the act of grace speak louder than our worries of shame or insecurity or privacy. Through these meals, may God fill us up, and may we fill each other’s lives with the hope, grace, community, mission, salvation and promise that Jesus brings.
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