Love Feast – communion as a shared meal.

2013-JAN-Table-Firefly-Dinner-Table

My all-time favourite TV show would have to be Joss Whedon’s Firefly. Set in the future, it follows the lives and relationships of an odd assortment of characters as they travel the universe in an ageing spaceship.

At the heart of the ship, named “Serenity”, is a common eating area. As they eat together, the passengers and crew share more than food – they share laughter, and stories, and conflict, and special moments. At the table, Mal is no longer captain, Simon and River are no longer fugitives – they are all equals, comrades with a common unity. Bonds are formed and strengthened which enable them to keep each other’s backs as they go out into dangerous worlds. They cease to be individuals, and become family.

The act of sharing a meal is one of the most simple and effective ways to build up any community of people. Jesus spent a great part of his ministry eating with people. Many of his stories were about feasts and banquets. The early church celebrated communion by eating together. The modern simple church movement and missional communities often structure their gatherings around a meal. One inspirational movement that excites me is called “Neighbor’s Table” – a love movement begun by Sarah Harmeyer in 2012, which is spreading across communities and neighbourhoods.

Each week at Fresh Start Community, we end our meeting by eating lunch together – nothing flash, just sandwiches and salad. We call it the Love Feast – communion as a shared meal. I think it would be beautiful for God’s people to rediscover the relationship-building, one-anothering power of sharing food with one another.

9 thoughts on “Love Feast – communion as a shared meal.

  1. We have a lot in common: we love both Firefly and communal meals. Our family has all the episodes (too few) on DVD. You are correct that they show great community when eating.

    I have to admit that I’m glad I’ve never been chased by a Reaver.

    This is a great post. Thanks Kathleen.

    • Kevin-Neil and I love Firefly. We are currently trying to get one of our teenagers into it. Too few episodes, but such enduring characters. 🙂

    • Thanks Dan. Just realised I should change my spelling to the American “Neighbor” rather than the UK “Neighbour”. We Aussies use UK spelling rules (most of the time).

      – Kathleen

    • We had people over for lunch on the weekend, and I enjoyed it so much I wanted to write about it. Also, I’m halfway through re-watching “Firefly” (for the umpteenth time). Thanks for your encouragement,

      – Kathleen

  2. I grew up in a large family (14) and we had meals together around a large table, three times a day. I didn’t realize at the time just what that continued practice did for / to me. It WAS a time for stories, laughter, discussion, conflict and love. When you sat with the same people every day, sharing your day, you found you had a common goal. You also resolved conflicts more quickly as you could be sitting next to that person or looking at them across the potatoes for infinity. My family is spread out around the world now and we talk about just how much we miss and long for times together again, and they always include food! But more than the food and the stories, being together gave us a sense of belonging, of community, of oneness….something I’ve yet to find in my area even after searching for six years. The times I have found it were times I initiated it with others, and it takes most folks a while to get past surface conversation to find true connections. I’m going to check out the Neighbour’s Table and not give up hope! Thanks, Kathleen, and Merry Christmas!!

    • Wow, Katie – 14 of you! I also grew up in a big family – there were 8 of us, plus a number of “adopted souls” who would live with us for periods of time, plus any number of drop-ins, so I completely relate to your experience. Around the table we had laughter, and problem solving, and deep discussions. I guess that’s where I developed such a respect and longing for intimate community. Now that I have four kids of my own, I treasure our evening meal as the most important part of the day, and try to make sure we are all present.

      Blessings in your search for authentic, transformational community, Katie. With your experience and heartfelt longing, you have something valuable to offer others.

      – Kathleen

  3. So glad to see more and more of Gods people doing this and breaking away from the traditionally enforced chip and sip. God is good.

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