This morning in my devotional reading I was enjoying a trip through the eleventh chapter of First Corinthians and the Didache (The Teaching of Christ to the Apostles). I was especially focused on the examples of table fellowship among the early Christians as they gathered on the Lord’s Day. Although Paul was specifically addressing the needed corrections of the Church at Corinth as they gathered to share the Lord’s Supper, there is much to be gleaned from his teaching regarding the ways the Church gathers for fellowship meals as well.
As in Corinth, divisions and conflicts are ever present within congregations. At the very least, one can point to a minor issue between church members on any given day. Assuredly, most are not church dividing. Still, these do exist and it is always good for church leaders to address them in a faithful manner lest they bubble up into something more troublesome.
As I reflect on my reading this morning, and the events in my own congregation, I have come to realize something very comforting. Even as minor conflicts arise and there are differences in opinion, food on the table almost always brings about a truce among those in conflict. Sharing delicious recipes, hot dishes and desserts becomes the balm that heals. Watching others enjoy the food you have prepared brings with it simple joy. Who can deny the inner warmth while digging into a tasty casserole? What person holds back a smile brought by the sweetness of a luscious dessert or the soothing sensation of that Lutheran staple, green Jello? Good food provided by your sister/brother in Christ and shared in community is one of the simple pleasures shared among God’s people. Their fellowship is most certainly a holy time.
A word of note, this post is not brought to bear due to an issue or conflict, but rather through the simple joy of watching members of my flock enjoy an evening meal before worship. The smiles, laughter and conversation shared in Christian fellowship is a wonderful thing. For in the sharing of a meal we find that we truly do love one another. And as we gather for worship, specifically around the table of the Lord, we find in the Holy Communion our Lord and Savior who truly loves us, so much so that he would feed us the Bread from heaven and the Cup of blessing that is His own body and blood.
Come Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed! Amen!