Theme of the Week: Making A Godly Impact
Bible Verse: “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you.” 1 Corinthians 11:23a ESV
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Back to cranky old Emperor Julian. Remember that one of his pet peeves about the Christians was their practice of a surprising form of hospitality. He complained to his officials that one of the Christians’ methods for “perverting” the empire was their so-called love-feast, or service of tables.
He reported that the Christians would meet “on a fixed day” in the early morning to “sing responsively to Christ, as to a god.” Later in the same day, they would “assemble again to partake of food—but ordinary and innocent food.”1 In other documents of the time, there appear various references to the separation of the Eucharist from the love feast, as though they were seen as two very distinct gatherings.
My point is that eating has been a central Christian practice since the beginning of our movement. And not only eating sacramentally, as in the Eucharist, but eating missionally as a way to express love to all. More than that, eating with others can be perceived as a profoundly theological practice. It mirrors the character of the Triune God.
The table ought to be the primary symbol of the Christian gathering. It represents hospitality, inclusivity, generosity, and grace. The invitation to share a table is a profoundly meaningful one in every culture. So I’m calling you to foster the habit of eating with three people each week. You won’t need to add a great deal into your often already busy schedule. You already eat three times a day.
That’s twenty-one meals a week. I’m simply asking that you bring another person to your table for three of those. Or if you want to cut corners, you could bring three people to your table for one of them. Your meal could be an elaborate dinner party, or it could be breakfast, or even just coffee and a donut. Just sit across a table from three people this week, and . . . talk. The table is the great equalizer in relationships. When we eat together we discover the inherent humanity of all people. We share stories. And hopes. And fears. And disappointments. People open up to each other. And we ourselves can open up to share the same things—including our faith in Jesus.
1 “Pliny the Younger and Trajan on the Christians.” Early Christian Writings, www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/pliny.html. Accessed 27 April 2021.
Some content taken from Surprise the World: The Five Habits of Highly Missional People by Michael Frost. Copyright © 2016 by Michael Frost. Used by permission of NavPress, represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.
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