March 11, 2012

Share a Meal, Share Your Life: Eating as Bridging

What is it about eating? Eating with others around a table?

During the practice of meal-sharing, eating a common meal, there is something in us that folds down; it's that barrier that's placed aside making *real* community (not merely "being together") more accessible. A meal brings real community (i.e. laughter, honesty and vulnerability, empathetic listening, etc.) within reach. It truly is odd in a sacred way.

I have often heard people talk about this phenomenon. People say that a common meal "brings people together." Brings people together? Does it really? I mean, it makes sense. I've experienced it.

If this is true, a common meal, than, is like a bridge to another person. It gives you a kind of accessibility that is hard to come by, a peculiar proximity. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe sharing good food acts as an appetizer for the main course: sharing your life. Food is (hopefully) packed with nutrients and other good things and is an experience of (again hopefully) tantalizing delight. A life, on the other hand, as vague as that is, is stuffed full of stories, laughable and cryable moments, wisdom and perspectives with the potential to nourish the soul. Think about how you feel after an inspiring conversation with someone you highly respect or an intimate exchange with a growing friend. These are truly transformative moments; the types of experiences branded into the memory.

Today in service, the Martzs were officially given pastorship of Lifehouse Foursquare Church. Rad indeed. After, we had a potluck. I was 30 minutes late to service and the potluck was the big-time motivator for me to get out of bed (not sure whether I should have admitted that). Are there other groups or communities that have potlucks that actually called them "potlucks"?

Anyways, the point to all this is I had a great time fellowshipping with those around my table (and a "great time" at church service, for me anyways, is a little strange). Chantal and I talked awhile about graduation, the summer and the future's future. I always want to connect with people like this, but often don't know how to. I get shy. I often need something to bring me to people. I need a meal!

Afterwards, Leighah Darnell and I were chatting about how every Sunday would benefit from such eating-experiences, not just special days. Isn't every Sunday special? Potlucks, being the people-briders they are, should be conducted weekly, no? And if not, then why? Isn't church (service) for Church and isn't Church a community and if something "works" for the sake of the community then why stop? Why postpone it? Plus, if it was every week I would probably remember to actually buy/make (probably buy) something. Just sayin'.

Since I'm not the most inviting and welcoming person, especially in the morning, it would be nice to have something, a potluck or whatever else might work, to bridge me to the lives within my own community.