Eating in Church

Jesus loved sharing meals. And to be honest, I love going to meals too. Eating is such an important part of our lives and it’s a time to make friends, build relationships and be nourished. I often wonder, then, why the Church generally neglects sharing meals together.

I don’t know – maybe your church is brilliant about meal sharing and putting on events which grow and deepen fellowship in your church. But from my personal experience, churches aren’t generally good at that sort of thing. Especially the ones that are so concerned about orthodoxy that anything that sounds like liberalism is regarded as sin. Throwing the baby out with the bath water if you ask me…

No, meals are fantastic. Which is why I’m glad that our Jubilee Celebration meal at church a few weeks paid off. We had quite a few visitors that came through personal invitation or a card invite that we popped through the doors in our parish. And 2-3 weeks later… they’re still at church. And I’m deeply encouraged by that and I’m looking forward to growing those relationships, and hopefully introducing them to Jesus. The meal was just the start of that journey. When you make a new friend, it takes a while for you to get to know that friend. It’s no different with Jesus…

When we meet Jesus for the first time, it takes us time to get to know him until that point at which we say “I want to be your friend” and then we gain a lifelong friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Don’t underestimate sharing meals at church. In Luke’s gospel alone we see Jesus sharing meals several times:

  • In Levi’s home (Luke 5:27-32)
  • In Simon’s home (Luke 7:36-50)
  • In Mary and Martha’s home (Luke 10:38-42)
  • In a pharisee’s home (Luke 11:37-53)
  • In another pharisee’s home (Luke 14:1-24)
  • In Zacchaeus’s home   (Luke 19:1-10)
  • In a home in Jerusalem (Luke 22:7-38)
  • In a home in Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)

Quite often, these people didn’t have friends or family, or they were outcasts. We need, as the Church to be looking to share meals with people. And if we give people an invitation to share a meal at church with us, they will unknowingly come to a meal hosted by the King of Kings.

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Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about

  • When I was living and working in Austria, the church I was serving in there had only an evening service which was always followed up by a meal together (often something like soup or, being Austria, goulash) and beer/Radler until the wee small hours. Most everyone took part in this – it became such a natural extension of church and natural feeling of community.

    Having experienced it and seen it done so well, I really miss it now I’m back in the UK.

    • Fantastic!! I definitely think that it’s something the UK church misses out on. Can you imagine the friendships formed and community built and the kingdom grown if we had meals more often?!