This is a guest post from my friend, Matthew DeBardelaben. It was written in a different time on a different continent but the message applies just as much today.
Hosting a meal is a wonderful act. The Gospels demonstrate that Jesus often joined others in a meal, the result of which was often no less than transformational. How can the act of hosting a meal be worthy of such attention? Consider a few of the elements that make hosting a meal a wonderful act.
Hosting a meal provides us with an opportunity to show generosity. Meals offer us an occasion to do unto others. Furthermore, hosting a meal presents us with the prospect to demonstrate hospitality.
A meal can be a great time to serve our guests [more than food]. Hosting a meal also offers us an opportunity to engage in conversation. Here I side with the experts who profess that when people make decisions today it’s through a conversation, despite the claims of mass media or the advertising industry. It seems to me, that in its normative sense, the gospel advances one conversation at a time.
Hosting a meal also allows us to demonstrate that everything we do matters. When we put effort into preparing savory dishes or setting a delightful table or creating a pleasant ambiance we are essentially affirming that these things all have value. We are affirming that every area of our experience, in this case the sensual and material, have their place in God’s world. Everything we do matters.
Finally, hosting a meal provides us with the opportunity to build a plausibility structure for the gospel. Many people reject the gospel because their worldview makes it seem implausible. Hosting a meal gives us the opportunity to show Christian love, participate in Christian community, and engage in Christian conversation. As people enter into our homes and communities they also enter into a structure that has made Christ plausible.
We invite you to join us at a new style for sharing a meal, The Table. This less formal worship service which includes Eucharist begins this Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 9am in Johnson Hall, St. George’s Episcopal Church, Nashville, TN.
Please join us for community, conversation, and Christ’s love…