Some of my fondest childhood memories are the times my parents hosted a meal for friends or family. Company was an event in our house. Cleaning, planning, cooking - and often, my mother would bring out her very best special dishes. (We loved those dishes - they were too special for us to wash! )
Sometimes, our guest were almost unknown to us - newcomers we welcomed into our life with open arms and a pan of shepherds' pie.
Jesus loved a good meal, too. Being friends with so many fishermen, he probably had the fish fry down to an art. He attended weddings, dinner parties and picnics. He regularly invited himself over to someone's house for a meal.
There is a lot of emphasis in the bible on food and the role it plays in our lives, especially the act of sitting around the table in a communal setting. The earliest form of 'communion,' as we now call it, was actually Sunday dinner, shared by the congregations of the early church as a part of their worship service.
In truth, a meal involves sacrifice, and while our chicken and potatoes are the fuel of our everyday physical life, Jesus' sacrifice has to do with providing us with the means to attain life for eternity.
In Luke's account of what we call The Last Supper, he remembers Jesus telling the disciples how much He longs for the special bonding of sharing a meal together:
When it was time, Jesus sat down, all the apostles with him, and said,
"You've no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It's the last one I'll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God."
Luke 22: 14 - 20
Jesus explains to those he's eating with, and us, that when our life is the roughest, the best we can do is share a meal with other like-minded friends.
Are you facing a challenge in your life?
Maybe it's time to throw a dinner party!
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)