Sundays were an important day in the home in which I was raised. Not only was it the day my family gathered with our faith community and attended church, but it was also the day that we switched the location of our family dinner. Normally, we ate together around the kitchen table but on Sundays, we moved to the dining room. The table was set with the good china, silverware and a linen tablecloth and the meal was usually the same each week; roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
Everything slowed down around the dining room table on Sundays and my family enjoyed good food and good conversation, often with a guest or two invited to join with us. I have many wonderful memories of those Sunday night meals where stories were shared and much laughter (and a few tears) ensued.
There is something about the gathering around a table and sharing a meal that is significant not only in our culture but in many cultures around the world. Few acts are more expressive of companionship and community than a shared meal. Someone with whom we share a meal is likely to be a friend or on the way to becoming one. In fact, the word companion comes from the Latin, com panis which means, with bread. When we share bread (a meal) with others, we become connected to them.
It is interesting that in the Gospels of the Bible, Jesus shared many meals with people. He extended and received hospitality around a table and he chose to eat with an eclectic mix of people; from tax collectors to prostitutes and even the religious leaders of his day. It was during many of these meals that Jesus did some of his most significant teaching about the way of life that he had come to proclaim.
In our weekend message series at North Park this summer, we are going to gather around a table each week and unpack some of the meals that Jesus ate with others. We will look a little deeper at the significance those meals had for those around him and the importance they have for us today.
Please join us for Table Talk, and be expectant of all that God desires to teach us about the ways that we extend hospitality and share a table with others in our culture today.