The Swedish modern table in our dining room is old. Not antique old, but been-around-a-while old. My parents bought it for their first home in 1956, and they passed it on to my husband and me when we were married in 1983. It’s sturdy and practical and expands to seat many. My mother often tells the story of when I was two and ran smack into the table, resulting in whiplash. There are faint crayon scribbles on it from when my sons were young. Our granddaughter likes to play Hide-and-Go-Seek around it when she comes to visit. This table has been the setting for birthday celebrations, holiday dinners, storytelling, political discussions, meetings, craft projects, and countless other gatherings. But mostly for meals. If a table could talk …
There’s an old saying, “When you take in food in the presence of another person, you take in something of that person as well.” Over shared meals around tables, we grow and deepen relationships through the hospitality and compassion we extend to one another. This caring is reflected in the celebrations as well as the heartaches that we share. There are many stories in the Bible that remind us that Jesus (and others) found mealtimes important, too. These stories are not just about eating, but about relationships, righteousness, grace, justice, sharing, celebration, and nurturing one another. Every time we come to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, we are reminded that we are bound to Jesus through the breaking of bread. Special things happen when people share food together. It’s almost a spiritual act.
And that is why a shared meal (or a snack that replicates a meal) is included in all the ministry models that GenOn creates. In LOGOS, Sunday LIFT, and All God’s Children, you’ll always find a shared meal that brings generations together. You’ll also hear us say it’s there because we believe a meal is one component to forming Christ-centered community. Not just any meal. No buffet lines or separate children’s tables. These are family style meals where plates, bowls, and pitchers are passed so that we serve one another and see one another as we do so. Meals where we wait for everyone to sit and be ready before we take our first bite, and where we help one another clean up afterwards. Because it’s about more than food.
If your table could talk, what stories would it tell?
Enjoy this advertisement from a Canadian grocery store chain that illustrates this kind of community.