When it comes to building community, meals matter. Though planning and providing them can feel at times like a weighty burden. Here are some ideas to lighten the load:
- Reconcile yourself to the possibility that someone else might think that you didn’t work as hard on your dish as they did on theirs.
- Pick up rotisserie chicken. It goes with everything and it’s not too expensive.
- Pizza. It’s a finger food and an Italian food. And besides, no one would complain about pizza.
- Pick up soda, chips, and/or cake on the way over.
- Crock pots were invented by church people for church people. Stick with tradition and everyone will be happier.
- If you have more money than time, freezer entrees and finger foods from Sam’s or Costco will make you the hero to all the kids.
- If you have more time than money, take up a collection for ingredients and cook for those with more money than time.
- Accept table fellowship as a given for life in the redeemed community. More times than not, burdens exist in our minds. After all, most* people will prepare or purchase dinner for their families every night anyway. While feeding our families each night might feel like a chore, we don’t carry it the same way as bringing food to share at a Life Team or other gatherings because it’s a given. When on a heart level we accept that shared meals are a normal and regular part of life in the redeemed community (see Acts 2), we’ll stop complaining, evading and begrudging and start digging in to the joy of table fellowship.
*I said “most” because for many people in America (Arkansas and Mississippi both top the list of “food insecure” households at 20%) an evening meal is not a given. Table fellowship among the believing community has always been a means of feeding those who struggle to keep food on the table. Christ said that we would always have the poor among us. This passage is often understood to mean that we can’t solve poverty and that is partially true. We can’t fix poverty because the poor need more than all we could buy. They need what we’ve been given – the gospel lived out in community. Soup kitchens and food pantries perpetuate paternalism while table fellowship promotes brotherhood. Not everyone will accept our invitation to share life but we should always leave a chair empty and be prepared to sit with those who’ve brought nothing without shaming them. That’s why Jesus said that the poor would always be among us. Through table fellowship we share our bread while we share the Bread of Life which have received and which we are.
For more on hunger in America, watch this video: