The Indispensable Practice of Eating Together
Food is the best ice-breaker. It seems to have the same effects that we like to get from ice-breakers like helping people engage in conversation, feel more at ease, and bonus…it fills tummies, which makes everyone feel more content! I think that’s why it’s been said that the quickest way to a person’s spirit is through their stomach!
Eating together is a vital part of your group life. There is something about gathering around a meal that knits the hearts of people together. In fact, sharing a meal is one of the most profound physical expressions of our life together in Jesus Christ. Some of the most significant events in the Bible center around food (1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Mark 14:22-25; John 13:1; Acts 2:42-47). Repeatedly, we see the early believers making food an integral part of their worship and community life together (Acts 2:42, 46, 20:7, 11). For example, the Lord’s Supper was meant to be just that…a supper!
The way that Communion (or Eucharist, meaning “Thanksgiving”) was celebrated in the Early Church was by sharing a meal together, usually in the evening (Luke 14:12; John 13:4, 21:20). The setting of the Lord’s Supper, even in the larger gatherings, was always the home (cf. Romans 16:23; Acts 20:7). Similarly, we ought to give thanks and remember our Lord Jesus Christ when we gather and share a meal with one another.
Make it a goal with your group to celebrate the Lord’s Supper once a season / semester. There are many creative ways to do this in your group and you can look to Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:14-20, John 13-17, and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 for guidance on what to say and do during this time together so choose the one below that resonates the most with you and run with it!
- Have everyone stand in a circle. Take a whole loaf of bread, break off a piece, and hand it to the person on your right. As you hand it to them, say a prayer for them, bless them, and/or give thanks to God for them. Then that person does the same for the person standing to their right, and so on, until it comes back to you. Then take a drink together in remembrance of the Lord. Afterwards, pray or worship the Lord Jesus giving thanks for His birth, life, death and resurrection.
- Celebrate the Lord’s Supper in a public place (like a nearby park or outdoor eating area) because it is a way of sharing the Good News about Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:26).
- Invite group members to facilitate the celebration of the Lord’s Supper as a way to empower them in using their gifts to build up the Body of Christ.
- Set aside a meeting to talk about the Lord’s Supper and what it means. Talk about how your group could express the meaning of the Lord’s Supper in acts of love for one another and those outside the group (1 John 3:16). Then celebrate the meal together.
- Have a potluck meal and convert it into a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. At some point during the meal, ask everyone to pause for a short devotion and listen to a scripture reading that focuses on Jesus’ death and resurrection. Afterwards, say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for His sacrifice and love (John 3:16).
Now if you’re like me, steps on what to do and say might be just the help you need to get started so here’s a suggested order:
- Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 and choose to read one of the Gospel accounts: Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25 or Luke 22:14-20. You can use this as your own personal devotion or draw from these passages for what you share on the front or tail end of this time together.
- Thank God in prayer for His love, sacrifice and forgiveness.
- Pass the bread and remind everyone how it represents Jesus’ body broken on their behalf and say, “Jesus said, ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’ Let’s eat together.”
- Pass the cup reminding everyone how it represents Jesus’ blood shed for them and say, “In the same way, after supper Jesus took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ Let’s drink together.”
- Finish with a prayer of thanks to the Lord or listen to a song where you all reflect on Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice.
Don’t miss out on this transformational experience that God will use to build the bond between your group members, deepen your relationship with Him, and share His selfless love with others!