Wednesday, March 25, 2009

the art of the long meal

I finally finished the book I've been reading called "Velvet Elvis". Can't express how much I loved this book and was impacted by it. Really, really good. Anyway, near the end, were a couple of paragraphs I especially loved. And felt affirmed in regards to something we do at Koinonia House. The first Sunday of every month we do not have a regular church service; instead we have a 'fellowship meal'. Yep, we just get together at someone's house and just hang out and eat. On occasion in the past we have also done some worship music, but not always. I hesitate to say we "worshipped" and mean by that that we sang songs. Because really, our eating and conversing and game playing, and just generally enjoying each other is an act of worship when it is done in a way that honors God. This is a concept that doesn't come easily to one such as myself, who has grown up all my life in church, and 'church' just isn't really 'church' if you don't sing or pray or preach. But really, being the Church is sharing life together. That's actually what 'koinonia' means. And so, though at different times it has felt to me like a hassle, or I've questioned whether we should continue to do the meal for various reasons, these paragraphs penned by Rob Bell brought me back to the model Jesus lived. It made me think "oh, yeah..." and I hope that we continue to be less "religious" and more like Jesus.

Here's the excerpt from "Velvet Elvis":

One of the most tragic things ever to happen to the gospel was the emergence of the message that Jesus takes us somewhere else if we believe in him. The Bible ends with God coming here. God, in the midst of all the people who can imagine nothing better, celebrating the life that we all share. The images Jesus used were of banquets and feasts and celebrations. What do we do at parties such as these? We eat and talk and dance and enjoy each other and above all else, we take our time. What does Jesus do almost as much as he teaches and heals? He eats long meals. As Christians, it is our duty to master the art of the long meal.

If you find yourself wanting to take me less seriously, let me ask a question: What was the ritual the first Christians observed with the most frequency? Exactly. The common meal, also called the Eucharist or the Lord's Supper. And what did this meal consist of? Hours of talking and sharing and enjoying each other's presence. Food is the basis of life, it comes from the earth, and the earth is God's. In a Jewish home in Jesus' day - and even now - the table is seen as an altar. It's holy. Time spent around the table with each other is time spent with God.


Laura said...

good post... I like long meals :)

Christelle Joy said...

i agree good stuff and the yum yums do make me and my little guy quite happy as well!