I often write about eating together as the church. I think that sharing meals is incredibly important for the church. In Scripture, one of the most common activities among followers of Jesus Christ is eating together.
I want to point out a post and a Facebook comment that help round out the importance of sharing food (breaking bread) together as the family of God.
First, Felicity at “Simply Church” asks, “Why is food important when it comes to church planting?”
I’m going to combine one of her earlier paragraphs with one of her later paragraphs for this quote:
Food is very important in the context of seeing multiplying churches. Luke 10 is our signature passage on how to reach out to those who don’t yet know the Lord. It tells us that we are to look for people of peace–those who have influence and are open to our message. We can identify them because they offer us hospitality…
If you reject food, you are doing far more than saying you don’t want to eat. You are rejecting friendship. There have been times when I would have preferred to refuse food. (You try eating a hamburger you have just watched a cockroach walk over!) If you want to see disciples made in the harvest, swallow your squeamishness and eat what is set before you!
Also, on Facebook, I recently posted a link to an older but related post that I wrote called “Church and Meals.” My friend Ron left this comment in response:
I think we need to be very careful not to equate eating together as fellowship. While meals can open the door for fellowship, it does not necessarily mean fellowship. It can be a means, but it is not an end. Often in sharing meals together people sit with the same people, have the same conversations, same people doing the dishes and cleaning up, and leave the same people eating by themselves. Seeing the early church eating together was their way of providing fellowship. Simply copying the `program`does not make a church more a community or not. Even in the meals, there must be intentionality.
Both Felicity and Ron make good points about meals. Meals are an excellent (and I would say necessary) aspect of church life because of the possibility of fellowship. Of course, we must be intentional about that fellowship. We can share a bowl of soup and only talk about the weather and the latest sporting event.
Of course, if we don’t share meals, then even the possibility of fellowship is drastically reduced…
(By the way, the thumbnail for this post shows the chicken vegetable soup that we shared with the church last weekend. We also ate “second helpings” of some wonderful food that others shared with us. And, then, there was the fellowship… learning more and more about our brothers and sisters in Christ…)