The reason I joined this church is because I got a free Sunday lunch each week. All visiting students were offered the opportunity to eat and spend Sunday afternoon with a church family. With this matching up of host families with students, it didn’t take long to feel like we belonged.

Today, it’s normal for people to eat on the sofa, on the bed, on the go these days. Family dining tables are rare. Eating together is just for those who can afford to dine out in restaurants.

Taking time to eat together provides a safe space to engage in fun, serious or meaningful conversations (no phones at the table!). It is a leveller, enabling vulnerability. It’s better to have fish-fingers than a fancy meal because it’s about sharing, not showing.

Sharing food and eating together features heavily in the Bible. From special meals of thanksgiving to breakfast on the beach, we repeatedly see God’s people connect with Him, and with each other, over food.

Some of our most memorable times as a church have been banquets where everyone brought a dish to share. Our multi-national fellowship contributes the most amazing array of dishes. A church communal meal is a great opportunity to invite non-believing family and friends to see the love of the church in action.

After 10 years of austerity and with busy food banks in every town, food poverty won’t be far from your community.  Food banks are a valuable source of help for many. However, how would a user of a food bank feel if their next meal came from your kitchen or a church banquet rather than tins from a store cupboard?

Could your next meal include a holy moment? A word from Jesus? And who will benefit from this? 

As Aristotle said, ‘men cannot know each other until they have eaten salt together’.