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LTJ #10: Breaking Bread Together

If you’re like me, you enjoy delicious food, fine drink and good company with whom to share a meal.  Jesus did too.  I am, by no means, making any comparison of myself to the Lord, except that he apparently enjoyed breaking bread with others, same as me.


When Heart Of My Heart and I readied to wed, we met several times with our priest for the requisite marriage preparation sessions (following an Engaged Encounter weekend we attended).  I found it somewhat curious then, but profound now, that one topic we discussed concerned the importance of good furniture.  Our rector said many trimmings and trappings would figure into the process of us coming together as a married couple to create a new household.  Different things would draw our attention and eventually touch our wallets, checkbooks or charge cards.  But he stressed that the only two pieces of furniture we need really concern ourselves with would be 1) a strong, sturdy table with chairs enough to accommodate us and any guests, and 2) a good, comfortable bed.  Life would busily move forward due to jobs, careers, school, and church ministries such that our home life might consist mostly of meal times and sleep.


Suffice it to say, we have always treasured our bed for the rest, comfort, relaxation and other things it affords us.  And we have the table and chairs also.  However, if you’ve been to our house over the years, you might not be able to readily identify the table or chairs.  Times when it is just us for meals times, we often have and still do to this day, eat with plates in hand, or resting on our laps, or crowded together on a small side table between our customary sitting spots.  The nice table we own is nestled into a corner of our living room, with the chairs scattered about the main floor of the house or downstairs.  Actually, a second dining room table is downstairs in the side room adjoining the larger TV room known as the “Redskins Room”.  It typically gets used for large parties to encourage people to mill about the house.


But when it’s just us, we have settled into this less than formal, but still comfortable, setting and, at times, have really come to appreciate the intimacy it offers us to sit near one another in our current arrangement.  It does, however, offer us some challenges with a young, inquisitive puppy as we protect plates from the curious canine, wondering what we have to share with him or her.


This time started with the intention of writing about who we do or do not eat with.  I had thought I would reflect about how Jesus engaged in fellowship over meals.  But I realize we rarely gather at a dinner table, unless we eat out or are invited to someone’s home.  When we entertain in our home, the table is used for the numerous appetizers, then bountiful main courses and ample side dishes, as well as where all the desserts are placed.  Often, we do potluck meals where some or many gather, and regardless of how large our one or two tables are, or the number of “dining room” chairs we have, it is never enough.


Hospitality is a spiritual gift both Heart Of My Heart and I share.  We love to have parties, and we look for opportunities to gather with family and friends over good food and drink.  And as I consider it now, I realize the less-than-formal buffet we typically often offer allows people to move about, to visit with everyone throughout the day or evening.  It is more by necessity than anything else, but it dawned on me what a “happy accident” this is.  It has always been comfortable to us.  If you come in our door, you are welcomed as an honored guest, regardless of where you come from, what you bring to share, or if you can stay for the entire time or only a short while.  Our place is your place.


We do like breaking bread together.  And each time, we offer thanks for the bounty of edible gifts that are prepared, brought and placed before us to share with one another.


Even the monthly bible study we facilitate at Grace comes with food.  It’s a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage links, warms biscuits with butter and jam, and coffee, tea or milk.  It’s quickly rustled together, and there are always leftovers to bring home.  We gather in fellowship over food, then join together to explore scripture and share thoughts and feeling, and finally close in thanksgiving prayer for the blessings of our lives.


During the fall, if we’re fortunate enough to afford tickets for Redskins home contests, we have always planned to ‘tailgate’ at the games.  We learned over time to plan for time both before and after games at the stadium.  We nosh some before kickoff, given if our church commitments cooperate with the season’s game time schedules, and afterward to wait out the traffic slowly funneling away from FedEx Field.  As life now begins to change shape for us with the hope of a new vocation for me personally and us jointly, we have begun opting to host home game gatherings for a “fan friendly” group at the Casa.  (Sadly, the Redskins’ slow demise this season after a very promising start is preparing me for Sundays to involve more ministry work than personal play.  Oh well.)


The last large family gathering we hosted at the Casa was Thanksgiving.  It was Heart Of My Heart’s siblings, their spouses or significant others, their various children, including newlyweds, some who are engaged, others with their eventually intendeds, another friend and even a priest ‘in country’ visiting from Tanzania.  There was so much food that it seriously tested the capacity of the main table to provide space enough for everything.  Along with that, there was plenty of good wine, ample amounts of cold beer were sampled, and soft drinks, water, tea and coffee were available as well.


We do like to eat, drink and be merry.  We are very social, bordering on being “party animals and we are grateful for gifts we see and know that are our families and friends.


In closing, I’m happy to say that with us in our ‘home’, it is Come, Eat, Visit and Be Glad.  Won’t you please come and join us sometime?