"Hospitality is daily practice in keeping sacrifice local and immediate: A meal prepared and served to family and guests is a giving up of ourselves for another. All the food on the table is life given and offered so that others can live. Sacrifice and meal are always interlinked. When we are talking about the salvation of the world, a bowl of rice seems like an insignificant launching pad. But it wasn't too insignificant for Jesus."
- Eugene Peterson
Throughout the Lenten season we will be using our Sunday morning gathering as a time to focus on the ministry of Jesus that occurred over a meal.There is an ordinary sacredness to our meals. There is so much potential when a meal is shared. However, meals have also been devalued in our culture. We drive-through and eat on the run. We might still sit around a table from time to time, but instead of looking at faces we stare at screens.
Our hope for this season is that our community would create intentional time and space for meals, meals of all kinds. We want to invite you to set your table… for old friends and new friends, for strangers and family, for the well-to-do and the down-and-out. Lent is usually a time for setting things down, for emptying, for fasting. But this year, would you consider picking something up, and sacrificing in a different way? Could you make a commitment to being particularly intentional about ONE meal a week? Let’s do this together and see what comes out of it.
We’ve created this short “meal idea guide” as a way to spur your imagination. Who could you invite to share your table?What could that meal look like? Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling.
The Sunday Morning Ask
On Saturday, spend some time preparing a pan of lasagna or enchiladas. Make enough for 4 extra people around your table. On Sunday morning after church, invite someone to come to your house for lunch. Plan ahead, or ask someone spur of the moment.
Make a Meal Together
Sharing a table is fun, but sharing a kitchen can be a whole different kind of experience. Invite someone over and ask them if they'd like to participate in making a meal. Maybe they have a favorite dish they'd like to make. Swap recipes... learn new dishes. Drink some wine and taste test along the way. This more of a commitment, but a beautiful way to connect with others.
Home Community Mash-Up
Are you part of a Home Community? look at the list of other groups and plan for a time to get your two groups together. Chances are that there will be lots of new introductions. If you can't find a house that's big enough, use the upstairs space!
By Invite Only
Plan a fancy meal. Really put some effort into it. Figure out how much extra space you have around your table and make a corresponding number of invitations. Don't decide on who you'll invite ahead of time. Give each person in the family a few invitations to hand out to whoever they want. Throughout the week, each person can hand their special invite to anyone they choose. See who shows up!
Luke 14 Dinner
Just follow Jesus' directions, literally: "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your bothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."
When was the last time you invited your actual neighbors over for a meal? Maybe you never have. Why not give it a shot? Think about inviting more than one neighbor/family.
Get ready to get get out of your comfort zone! Remember when Jesus TOLD Zacchaeus that He was coming over to his house! This was an honor in the middle eastern culture of Jesus' day. And it might feel the same way to us as well, if we had the guts to do it. Who do you want to share a meal with? Try inviting yourself over. you don't have to be forceful. Or if it's someone you know well, and feel comfortable being forward with, give it a try.
Iron Chef: Kid's Edition
Sometimes (ok, most of the time) It's jusst not efficient to have kids in the kitchen. They can get in the way, or work slowly, or be easily distracted. Purposefully choose a kid friendly recipe to prepare. Invite your children (or kids that you know) to help you make a meal. Be purposeful about teaching them with kindness how to do different tasks. Or, If you have older kids, give them full control of the kitchen. Let them create the meal and set the table for the whole family.
Tech Free Zone
Make the table a tech-free zone for the whole Lenten Season. No phones, tablets, laptops, gaming systems, iPods or TV on in the background. Practice this for every meal of the day. It's a short amount of time to go without our devices. If you run out of things to talk about, here are some easy questions to get things started:
- What was your favorite 60 seconds of today?
- What did you overhear someone saying that caught your attention?
- What vegetable do you most resemble?
- Describe the meal you are eating now - in only five words.
- If you had to choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, What meal would you choose?
- If a movie was made about your life, which actor would you choose to portray you?
- Would you prefer 30 consecutive days of complete solitude, or 30 days with 20 people by your side?
- If you could have one superpower, what would you choose?
- If you could be any age again for one week, which age would you choose?
- What person from history would you want to invite to a meal?
It's 5 O'clock Somewhere
Have you ever had a co-worker over for dinner? Invite one, or more, to join your family for a meal. Try to talk about more than just work.
Loaves and Fishes
Invite someone over spur of the moment. Don't make a meal-plan ahead of time. Choose to make a meal from what you have on hand, from whatever is hanging out in your pantry and fridge. Chances are that you'll be surprised at what you actually have, and how well you'll eat!
Room for One More
One of the hardest things about being single is eating alone. Pay attention to those around you, at work, school, church who live alone. Invite them to dinner. Invite them to dinner for a week. You have no idea what it could mean to them.
Eating with the Poor
Take a look at Urbana's guide for "Eating alongside the Poor". Pick an idea and do it for a day or week.
Fast until Sunset
Take a day to fast while the Sun is up. During the day, as you become hungry, allow your mind to dwell on a scripture, or spend some time in prayer conversation with God. Plan a big delicious meal for sundown. Talk with each other over the meal about what the day was like for you, and enjoy the goodness of the meal in front of you.
Do you have friends, neighbors, acquaintances who come from a different cultural background? Invite them over to cook, but buy all the supplies in advance,. Help them prepare the meal. Try to eat the meal the same way they would in their culture (on the floor, or with different/no utensils). Spend some time asking about their memories associated with the food.
Take a picture of your intentional dinner and share the story with us. We'd love to tell stories of great meals this season. Email the info to Adam Hendrix.