Meals Have Meaning

Meals have meaning. When you welcome someone to your dinner table, you act in a rich ritual, one “thick” with meaning. You are welcoming this person into a space usually reserved for family. And usually, you share what’s on the table. You break the chicken or pig or cow or loaf of bread or head of lettuce or mass of pasta and share the pieces with the others. You all eat from the same source. And you share in a ritual that’s vital for life, so vital the options are stark: eat and live; don’t eat, and die. You share in consuming something vital for life. And (hopefully!) what you eat tastes good! It’s worth savoring, lingering over, enjoying. The meaning is of course made even more clear in Christ. We are united together, through faith in Christ, into a family, the only family that will exist in eternity. Jesus Christ created this family by breaking his own body for us. We eternally enter and remain in this family by “feasting” on his flesh (John 6:54). This is his graphic and stark way of picturing faith, in him alone, in his work alone – eat, and live; don’t eat, and remain under the curse of death (John 6:57). And yet, where else can we go to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)? Christ is more than the one we need: to “taste him” is to taste truly rich and satisfying food. He is to be eaten, and he is to be savored, lingered over, enjoyed. Meals have meaning. I mean our ritual of communion, and I also mean the meal you share with your family tonight, or with your Community Group, or a simple meal shared with friends. If you are in Christ, meals are thick with meaning. What to do then, practically? I offer a few simple thoughts. First, simply reflect on the meaning, as you eat. What facet will strike you, tonight? Is back to the cross, the body broken for us? Is it future, the wedding feast that we all will share with Christ? Or is it now, how in the Spirit he gives us all we need, today, for our soul’s satisfaction? Secondly, talk and listen, with this meaning in view. Say out loud what piece of meaning strikes you. And listen to others’ stories, with this meaning in view. How can we pray for Christ to be your “bread of life”, right now? Then the meal becomes a needful, savorful feast.