Common Life: Missional Communities (pt 2)
Margaret Feinberg in her book, Taste and See, has this unique statement:
”When we gather to eat, God wants to nourish more than our bodies: he wants to nourish our souls with transcendent joy and supernatural community and divine presence. When we feed our physical appetites in community, we open our hearts for God to feed something deeper as well. He has connected our bodies and bellies to our spirits and souls. That, it seems, is the way God has designed us. God created us to give and receive, not just in our bodies but in our spirits.“ (pg 22)
This pursuit of common living, following Jesus in the everyday stuff of life, has to involve some of the most basic functions of human living. Namely: eating. Dining with Jesus and others isn’t an action to merely scoff at, or worse, dismiss altogether. It is one of the most sacred functions of all of the Christian life. Pastor and author AJ Sherril said this about eating: “Eating got us into this mess, eating will get us out of it.” From one bite of the forbidden fruit to the wedding feast of the lamb, there is hardly much else more sacred than the act of eating with others. In doing so, it represents a deeper, more robust, way of experiencing life with God and with each other. The best part? I try to eat at least three times a day.
When we gather with others at the Table it is an opportunity for us to not just share in the physical nourishment of our bodies, but in the act of eating it shapes our souls. The type of presence that is required at the Table turns our jittery, technology-inclined, uneasy fingertips into open-handed receptacles of grace. Instead of necks bent and thumbs mashing, we touch arms, laugh deeply, and shovel in what is maybe the thing our hearts were longing for. When we engage in the divine mystery of life at the Table I am reminded of a Jewish prayer that helps answer the question to who this meal really belongs to. This question is asked, “Who brings forth bread from the earth?” To which the people respond, “Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the Universe…” In fact, I’m trying to teach the Hebrew to my 5-yr old so that he can always remember the sacredness of the shared meal that our family so desires to leave to our children as an inheritance.
I’m finding that our pursuit of radical discipleship includes common functions that, I pray, will result in the transformation of women, men, and children. Here’s to common life through common meals.