This Sunday after the service, we’ll be enjoying a big meal together as a church. Whoever you are, you’re welcome to come!
But why do we have these church lunches? Lots of reasons. Here are 2 quick ones.
Because we’re a family!
Church isn’t special interest group or a club. It isn’t an institution or a service provider. First and foremost, church is a family. And families eat together!
Sharing food breaks boundaries and creates community. As we sit across the table from someone, we become closer, and those we are close to, we want to eat with. We talk a lot about being a loving family, but what kind of true family would we be if food never got involved?
In his wonderful book, A Meal With Jesus, Tim Chester puts it like this:
“Many people love the idea of the church as a community. But when we eat together, we encounter not some theoretical community, but real people with all their problems and quirks. The meal table is an opportunity to give up our proud ideals by which we judge others and accept in their place the real community created by the cross of Christ, with all its brokenness. It’s easy to love people in some abstract sense and preach the virtues of love. But we’re called to love the real individuals sitting around the table.”
Obviously this sort of loving community isn’t a once-a-term thing. It should be happening as part of the normality of our life together. But about once each term, we express our oneness as a family by eating all together. And we throw wide open the invitation to whoever wants to join us.
This Sunday, Pete and Ruth are bringing Olivia to be baptised. It’s a family occasion. And that’s why everyone at church is invited, because we are one big family.
Because there’s so much to celebrate!
Another reason we eat together is because when people have good news, they eat with their families! Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas… celebrating means eating with others.
As Christians, we have the greatest news of all. Jesus has taken us in all our rebellion, and died for us so that we can be reconciled to Him and brought in as friends. As one song we sing says,
“Your blood has washed away my sin. Jesus, thank you.
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied. Jesus, thank you.
Once your enemy, now seated at your table. Jesus, thank you!”
When Jesus wanted to leave us a way to remember what He did for us, He left us a meal. In communion, we eat as one family in remembrance and celebration of His death in our place. We look forward to the feast which is to come when He returns. To be a Christian is to be a person who celebrates this good news, and we do that through food together.
This Sunday’s lunch isn’t “The Lord’s Supper”. But it is still a significant thing to do together. A group of former slaves-to-sin who are now set free to live as a family welcoming in the lost. So we eat together in celebration.
There are plenty of other reasons to do it. Why not get hold of a copy of A Meal With Jesus to think it through more? And this Sunday, let’s come expecting to celebrate as a family.
Eat up, there’s plenty more!