Editor’s Note: Our overarching theme for devotions during the five months of the liturgical calendar called Ordinary Time is Jesus is sending his church. Using Michael Frost’s B.E.L.L.S. acronym as a framework, the topics will relate to missional living.
- As “sent” people, we are invited to…
- bless others generously, in word and deed (July),
- eat with others hospitably (August),
- listen to the Spirit while engaging with others (September),
- learn Jesus’ teachings as a disciple (October),
- and, sent people share the good news with others (November).
In many African cultures, there are various occasions and customs where communities are encouraged to share meals together. Traditionally in Kikuyu culture [Kenya’s largest ethnic tribe and a central Bantu community], after preparing a meal for her family, a woman would take some of the food to a designated place to be eaten by anyone who was traveling through that area. Sadly, this tradition is no longer in place because a few people stopped working their own farms and instead took advantage of the food meant for travelers.
In most communities, there are occasions when people share communal meals. Occasionally, failure to attend can result in being treated as an outcast. In Kenya, we have a wise saying that discourages people from being selfish. Loosely translated it means, he who eats alone dies alone.
We read of a very good practice in the early church.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts… Acts 2:46 NIV
Eating together is one way we demonstrate the love of Christ in us and among us. We are encouraged to open our homes in hospitality and to help provide for others’ needs, like food. Food brings people together, and we get a chance to understand others better when we share a meal with them. Shared life is better than one lived in isolation. Sharing meals is a demonstration of the shared life we are called to.
Our Father, we thank you for the gift of life and the gift of one another. Thank you for teaching us the importance of sharing our blessings with one another, especially food. Amongst us are those who are challenged to have enough food to eat. Help us, Lord, to identify them and share our food with them. Let us experience you as we participate with others in the blessings that you have bestowed on us. Remind us always Lord that you are the great giver, and we only share from the many blessings that you have given us. May what we share with others be a key to open their eyes to see your goodness through us. May all glory be unto you. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.