When I was a child, birthdays and holidays were highlighted by presents and special traditions. But as an adult, I have noticed that our get togethers tend to center around food. Not just what we will eat, but who will be joining us for the meal.
In the Gospels, the writers record at least 14 separate occasions when Jesus ate meals with others. Jesus often used those times as teaching moments to bring people closer to God. Whether He was the host or the guest, He understood that gathering around a table and sharing a meal together was a powerful experience.
First Corinthians 11 highlights the significance of God’s people eating together. Paul identified how the Corinthian believers were neglecting one another regarding their practice of the Lord’s Supper. The early church would eat an entire meal together in addition to the bread and wine. Sadly, some members of the Corinthian church had poor table manners. Some were impatient, others would get drunk. Instead of reflecting on Jesus’ sacrifice and the community, they focused on their own selfish desires.
Paul warns them that they were sinning against the body when they neglected one another (v. 27). As an alternative, they were to examine their own lives (v. 28) before coming to the table and prepare themselves appropriately. Paul was not wanting to keep people away from the Communion Table, but rather he is imploring his readers to honestly evaluate how their conduct honors the Lord. When we examine our lives, we will be reminded of our desperate need of God’s grace and forgiveness which can be found at the Table with other believers. Paul urges believers to eat together, regardless of their societal status in a way that glorifies God (v. 33).
>> Soon, many of us will gather at the table to celebrate Thanksgiving. As you look forward to turkey and pumpkin pie (or whatever your family tradition), reflect on what makes these times so special. Who can you invite to your table?
Thank You for the gift of good food! Thank You for our senses, which make food so enjoyable. Thank You for the way eating together bonds us. Thank You for the Lord’s Supper, which bonds us to You.