I recently read an excellent little book by Tim Chester called “A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, & Mission around the Table“. It’s a study of several portions of Luke’s Gospel that deal with Jesus at various meals. I was greatly challenged by much of what was said, especially in the practical applications of hospitality in cultures where even families don’t eat meals together anymore. There’s also some challenging chapters on the ways we can use food and even hospitality to feed our idolatry rather than worship God and bless others. I immediately passed it onto my wife for her reading shelf since it’s hard to start applying new ways of hospitality without your wife being on board!
Here are some quotes to entice you more:
“Meals can be a visual representation of our hearts. If our hearts are concerned for position, honor, status, or approval, then that will be reflected in our dining etiquette. Consider how your meals express your vision for life. Think about who’s invited, how they’re served, what you hope to achieve, and the layout of your home. Do they express the vision of the kingdom of God?”
“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.”
“If guests offer to help, then take them up on their offer. Your aim is to love, not impress. Jesus himself was the recipient of hospitality more than he provided it. Letting others serve us creates a relationship of equality and intimacy.”
There are a lot more little tidbits here worth reading. I found some of the thoughts on meals very similar to Eugene Peterson’s writing in “Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places” from which I hope to put some quotes up in the near future.