Dining as a Spiritual Practice
Dining, the breaking of bread, and fellowshipping, played a significant part in the ministry of Jesus. He said goodbye to His disciples over a meal and after the resurrection, in the passage above, He said, “Hey, I’m back for real, it’s me” – over a meal (not in those words of course).
This past Sunday our bible study class looked at the above scripture passage and discussed the ways in which a meal can be a spiritual experience. As with Jesus and His disciples at the last supper, difficult news may best be taken at a meal. Last year around this time it was over a breakfast of mom’s chicken and waffles that I apprised my sons of the status of my health. Saturday breakfast was a special time for my children during their growing up years because we were able to relax and enjoy our meal and one another without having to hurry off to work, school, or church. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around we were able to again share a meal, this time to celebrate renewed heath and a new member of the family!
According to the gospel of John, Jesus began His ministry with a miracle at a wedding feast. Here in John 21, before He leaves, ascends to heaven, He takes the opportunity to share a meal and deliver important information to those gathered. Yet, more than information, Jesus imparts assurance, hope, and a future for the disciples. Their lives, their hopes, their work, their faith is not ending, the future for them, and in turn for us, begins and continues. We Baptists are known for gathering together to share a meal. Sometimes we joke about it, but consider what our coming together over a meal can mean for us a community of faith – a time to relax, talk, and experience what it means to be a “part of the family of God.”
In the spirit of the resurrection may we continue to find renewed hope, strength, joy, mercy, peace, grace, love, and meaning in our dining together.
— Carolyn Matthews