Most of us can fondly recall times we gathered with family or friends around a table for a wonderful meal. I think of my dad’s famous pot roast and mashed potatoes with gravy, always the centerpiece of family celebrations. Of my husband’s and my first Thanksgiving away from home, shared by charitable strangers soon to become fast friends from church. Coming together for a meal, to a table laden with food is one of life’s unsung blessings. But, it is also an increasingly lost opportunity.
The table itself is both place and metaphor. It is a fixed place to come, hungry, expectant, and grateful, made ready for us, a safe place to learn to try new things. The table is sanctuary. It gives us the opportunity to be fully present to the people in our midst, where we have and can take the time to share our lives, a lived-out story, a testimony. The table is school, for it is at the table we learn, face to face, loving ways to accept and forgive one another, to confront pressing issues, and to practice reconciliation and civility. Most importantly, the table is a place to leave filled, satisfied, challenged, and sent. The table gives us room for fellowship and learning ways to share our faith as a fundamental place for sharing the gospel; the table is mission. And, it is journey shared routinely with those we love most.
But, we live in a time focused on individualism, a concept that is contrary to the communal nature and nurture of the Christian faith. And so, eating together on a regular basis is one important way we worship together in gratitude to God, share our Christian testimony, enfold unbelievers in the reality of the Gospel, and rest in God’s presence.
It is my hope that here, in these pages, you may find encouragement to carefully consider a life founded upon Christian practices that help us grow together in our faith, actions like worship, Scriptural teaching, fellowship, hospitality, co-mission, and the breaking of bread.
You will recognize, as the weeks go by, that there is a clear call to attend to these shared practices as the way we look for God and to him in every life situation-together.
It is my prayer that this project itself acts as a meal, that we may use these ideas and practices,to share meals at our tables. So, by all means, share the link and invite others to the table!
Blessings to you,
Julie A.P.Walton, Ph.D.
6 thoughts on “1. Why Eating Together Matters”
I’m excited about the topic and this project of yours! I’ve started attending a church group that’s loving called “Long Table”, where a shared meal is a central component. I’m encouraged to share time with others that feel the same!
Thanks Shannon. Eating together as fellowship, as worship, as classroom, as welcoming and healing is the model of the earliest Christians. May your Long Table bring blessings to all who come!
The dinner table was always a place for physical, mental, and spiritual nourishment. I remember when our church youth group had a Progressive Dinner. I loved the idea of us, as young teenagers, coming to a place of comfort… the dinner table. Even when my family was very young, we came to the table with 3 other couples and their children. We all had limited incomes with young children so we took turns sharing a meal, recipes, playing games, watching the game or a movie. Discussions about life; a fellowship for us all. I’m looking forward to the fellowship and the journey of your blog!
Nancy, you were blessed to be in a family committed to sharing meals, company, play, and life. It is true- a happy, hospitable table is a refuge for your own family as well as each family member’s friends, many of whom have a less than rosy home life. The table is a place to learn about how the world SHOULD work when it’s done well! ~JW
I’m pulling my chair up to your table!
Thanks Nellie. Certainly, the table is a place of invitation, welcome, and fellowship. Hope you find this site both hospitable and challenging. ~JW