A Summary of the Shared Meal in ACTS
Eating together, sharing food, inviting any who would come, and using those meals to testify to the life, death, resurrection, and saving grace of Jesus was a common theme throughout the earliest days of the nascent church. What would it look like if we “did” meals the same way?
Most importantly, our tables would no longer be empty, instead reclaiming a rightful place as the central gathering place in our homes, and standing as a visible testament to the importance of shared meals in the life of believers. In our homes, we would not only participate in regular family meals, we would create a new habit- a practice if you will- of intentionally inviting others to join us- people from church, our neighbors, our work colleagues, our children’s friends and their families, visiting missionaries and scholars, and even the stranger we just happen to meet on any given day. Food could be simple fare like bread, soup, cheese and a piece of fruit- anything that would stretch to serve a tableful of guests and family, and be easy to prepare. And every table would always be capable of accommodating “just one more” hungry person.
Such a meal would begin with praise and thanksgiving. Today, we might call this “saying grace”. After the meal proper, invited guests would be asked to bring a word, a letter from a missionary might be shared, and Scripture read. A hymn would be sung. There would be prayer. And these types of meals would happen over and over again throughout the year.
At church, we would gather frequently to share meals and we would be intentional about inviting anyone in the neighborhood to join in. And, just like our home-based meals, the shared meal at church would contain specific components of praise, thanksgiving, breaking of bread, testimony, Word, and prayer, a model we’ll consider later in this book.
As a reminder, these posts are numbered in a specific sequence because they each contain pieces of the chapters of a book on shared meals and Christians. So, they are meant to be read IN ORDER. If you have comments or questions, send them via the LEAVE a REPLY box provided. I am more than happy to discuss the topic with you!
~Julie A.P. Walton, Ph.D.