I listen to audiobooks when I’m driving. Most of 2022 didn’t give me much opportunity to do that until I moved to Lubbock (the drive here definitely allowed for listening!) because I lived a block away from the church where I worked. Early January of last year when I was still commuting from Fort Worth, I selected books on leadership and youth ministry. I gathered lots of ideas that I was never able to put into practice, unfortunately.
During the transition time, one of my books was Rachel Held Evans’ Searching for Sunday. If you haven’t heard of her, Evans was a brilliant writer who struggled with growing up in evangelical Christian culture and finding her place in faith communities as an adult. This particular book was built around a list of seven sacraments (for clarification, in mainline denominations that utilize sacraments, anywhere from two to seven are recognized). In the chapter dealing with the Lord’s Supper, I found myself pondering her words a great deal.
She described one faith community where this meal was more than a portion of a worship service, one which included the preparation of simple food and then gathering around a table for conversation, fellowship, and prayer. I love the idea of this!
For the theologians who may be reading this, I’m not saying that this is the same as what we celebrate in Holy Communion. I know there are many who spend far more time than I do studying these things who could explain exactly why. Honestly, I don’t want to split hairs on this. I’ve taught from the Lutheran catechism for more than twenty years now, besides my own learning prior to that through grade school and college, and I firmly believe what we teach. But the tickling in my brain from that section of her book continues to happen, and it’s what inspired my thoughts on food and faith in the first place.
How can we invite others to the table? What does that look like? Are there places we need to proceed with caution? Are there places we need to be more welcoming? These are the kinds of questions I’m wrestling with. I know I don’t have all of the answers and probably never will this side of heaven, but I am grateful that the feast in eternity has a table big enough to welcome me.