Written by Amanda Rohwedder. Originally published in Family Foundations in 2021.
Food is a connector. God could have chosen anything to provide us nourishment and He chose food and the meal. After the experience of solitude during the pandemic, many of us longed to simply share a meal with family and friends . Now, with over a year of normal life behind us, we may take for granted those moments that we once longed for. Why not renew that desire to gather together as a creative way to evangelize others? Why not consider the natural friendship and fellowship that once flowed from time-honored tradition of the neighborhood spring or summer barbecue or a cozy winter or fall potluck?
Jesus engaged in what is known as “open table fellowship”—often extending invitations to share a meal and deep conversation—even amongst strangers. You see, He understood well the power that the meal has to reach people; the potential that the meal has to elevate us into a divine experience of connection. After all, God aligned the very identity of His people to a meal at two pivotal points of salvation history: the Passover meal and the Communion meal.
In our modern world, where we are starving for both real nutrients and real community, we cannot overlook the approachability of evangelizing in this way. Gathering around a table truly gives us a chance to reclaim this connection between our physical and spiritual health. A chance to heal our souls through reclaiming what we eat, where we eat, and with whom we eat.
A dinner with family, friends, or neighbors provides a chance to slow down, connect and bask in the joy of shared time together. Perhaps especially when we bring food to share with others, it is a sign of our love and care for them; of our eagerness to help nourish one another along the journey we share.
MODERN MAN LISTENS MORE WILLINGLY TO WITNESSES THAN TO TEACHERS, AND IF HE DOES LISTEN TO TEACHERS, IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE WITNESSES.Pope Paul VI
Often, when we share a meal with others, we find ourselves sharing more of ourselves, too. Heartfelt conversations often pour forth when surrounded by the grace of a shared meal; something about the combination of good food, hospitality, and fellowship makes it not just possible, but probable. Jesus himself experienced this phenomenon; it was often around a table that He revealed His heart to others, and where they shared theirs with Him.
What a beautiful and practical example of friendship and evangelization for us! The simplicity of it makes it feel possible—and it is. God can still permeate the everyday occurrence of mealtime—whether it is shared with the family and friends we know so well, or the neighbors we’ve only just started to get to know—if we intentionally invite Him to do so.
Amanda hosted a series of cooking classes and reflections about Lent in 2022. These recordings and resources are available. Check them out on FertilityScienceInstitute.org
Amanda Rohwedder is a degreed nutritionist, with a B.S. Nutritional Science and M.S. Medical Science with a concentration in Women’s Health. She founded Temple and Table as a way to nourish our culture by drawing a connection between physical and spiritual health. For more information about T+T’s mission, visit templeandtable.com or say hello on Facebook and Instagram @templeandtable.