Eating Together, Hospitality and the Gifts from a Shared Meal

There are many stories and references to eating together in the scriptures. Hospitality was kind of a big deal, and meals were at the heart of it. Not necessarily what was eaten, but the act of eating together itself sent a message to those who noticed (and to us who follow). Jesus exemplifies this kind of table hospitality at every turn, eating with his disciples, the 5000, or just one lonely tax collector. Even after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples on the shore and shared breakfast with them! (John 21:9-13)

Throughout the bible, we find numerous examples of meals that left a lasting impact on those who shared in them. It’s a tradition and practice that many of us continue today. 

Like at Fourth Avenue Bible Church in Niverville. We spoke with newly hired lead pastor Barry Mauer about Fourth Ave’s long weekend practice of breakfast potlucks.

Fourth Ave Bible Church, Niverville, Manitoba

Although Barry is relatively new to the potlucks, he could tell pretty quickly that these potlucks have been an essential part of the community’s rhythm. In fact, even though the potlucks were planned for times when there were fewer people expected, sometimes they ended up having a larger attendance than other Sundays!

The potlucks are a little more intimate, a little more communal and include some fun games that bring out a lot of laughter and fun. The kids stay in the service, which adds to the fullness of the gathering.

Potlucks are also happening once a month at Faithworks. Aptly named ‘Come to the Table,’ these potlucks began in September of last year as a post-covid effort to re-learn how to share a meal in each others’ company. We spoke with Kara Friesen, a long-time member of Faithworks, who described these times as perfect opportunities to build community, practice generosity and just have some fun together playing games and listening to stories. 

Faithworks, Winnipeg, MB

Faithworks has also practiced this kind of gathering throughout the summer, including a potluck of finger food as part of their worship service. These gatherings not only provide an opportunity to share delicious food but also create intimate and communal atmospheres where all enjoy laughter, fun, and games.

Shared meals hold a special place in our lives, fostering a sense of unity, compassion, and fellowship. Like in the scriptures, where many significant moments happened around a table, modern-day potlucks within our churches provide joy, connection, and spiritual nourishment. The tradition of eating together, as a communal practice, reminds us of the timeless value of gathering around the table with our loved ones and fellow believers.