“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
How do you connect with people who are different from you? One way is to sit together and share a meal. When you do, of course, it will help to be a bit adventuresome in your choice of cuisine. I’ve dined on jellyfish legs and raw horsemeat (both were quite good, actually). I’ve sat down to green porridge with coconut milk, and I’ve eaten a fruit called durian, which tastes something like green cheese custard.
The importance of sharing a meal is often lost in North American society. But as I visit international Christian communities, I see the importance they attach to meeting together over dinner. Perhaps these Christians are more aware than me of the dynamic in Luke 15. The Pharisees were shocked that Jesus had dinner with tax collectors, notorious for exploiting their own people, and with prostitutes and other sinners. Jesus’ accusers understood that he was taking a stand for community, especially with those who were despised and ostracized by the religious leaders. (See Luke 5:30-32.)
I wonder whether an important part of our fellowship has been lost because we don’t regularly share meals with each other. Are you missing an element of Christian community that can be forged only around the dinner table? Is there someone you need to invite for a meal?
Lord, may the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper spill over into our everyday relationships, especially with people who need to know you. Help us to practice the hospitality of sharing meals, for your sake. Amen.
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