It was a tough decision. Out of our church of less than a hundred, who would get invited to the memorial?
After losing a baby to miscarriage, we wanted the comforting presence of our friends, but eighty-five was too many. How to draw the line?
I ended up inviting about thirty people, unsure of exactly why I chose the ones I did. Later, it hit me.
Every one of the friends we invited were people with whom we had shared a meal.
Eating together, called “breaking bread” in the Bible, is a spiritual act. This habit was something the early Church was devoted to, along with the apostle’s teaching, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 2:42).
This eating together business is such a big deal that the Bible says there are people with whom we should not eat. Why? Because eating together creates a spiritual bond between people.
You may be thinking, Well, that was another time and another culture. Modern families don’t have time to eat meals together anymore.
Should you go with culture on this one, or swim upstream against it?
Should you fill your life to the edges like everyone around you, or should you set some boundaries against frenetic living?
Making family meals a priority is a radical way to live counter-culturally for the sake of the gospel.
The more you eat together as a family, the stronger the bond between you.
To clarify, by eating together, I don’t mean grabbing hot dogs at 9 p.m. after everyone is home from soccer practice and ballet class, or wolfing down fast food in the car on the way to the next church activity.
I’m talking about deliberately sitting down around the table to enjoy a healthy meal and real conversation with each other.
In today’s world, you’ll have to fight for what is both a simple pleasure and an essential element of family life.
The world says, The best parents are the ones whose kids achieve the most. Besides, being busy every night of the week is proof that your life matters.
To compound the problem, the Church has “Christianized” this anti-gospel value by creating even more activities!
Only you can stop the madness.
Warning: you might have to break your own addiction to busyness in order to do it. You may have to ask yourself some hard questions about the “why” of all the activities in your life.
If you’re brave enough to swim upstream, there’s a reward to be had. There’s a depth and sweetness to family life that only comes with time spent bonding over meals.
When our boys were young, we limited their sports activities to one sport per year for each child. We enjoyed countless evenings around the family dinner table.
It was at dinner that our sons created a skit which developed into an annual tradition. It was at dinner that our firstborn announced what he wanted to be when he grew up: a Christian!
(Your child could come to Christ at the dinner table; I’m just saying.)
Dinner together sends a powerful message, both to our children and to those who witness our lives.
Gathering around the table instead of watching each other on a field or stage says we value each other apart from our performance.
It says we value slowing down together in order to connect more deeply in a crazy busy world.
Dinner together says we value relationships above activities.
It’s about priorities. It’s about a faith that’s willing to go counter to culture.
At the end of the day, why did I invite those thirty friends to our memorial?
I felt most loved by those with whom I had broken bread.