Sunday, June 4, 2017

dining together

We Americans eat a lot.  We eat so much, and so often that we have forgotten the joy and the gift of dining.

When I was in Russia many years ago, I went to the local grocery store.  Now conjure in your mind a grocery store.  Maybe you are thinking of Kroger, of Price Chopper or Publix.  If you did, then the problem is clear.  We have so much.  We see our opulent society as the norm.  It is not.

It might have been a bad time in Russia, it may not have been typical of Russian grocery stores.  Surely I saw much nicer stores on other trips, but this local Russia store was the size of a double garage.  There was a counter running through the middle of it.  Half of the place was where you stood to wait your turn, the other half held the counter, space for the worker to stand, and the back wall.  Needless to say, pickings were slim.  People would go to the store, not to get what they wanted for dinner, but to see what was available for dinner.  One day there was a few fish.  No beef.  The next day there were a few chunks of meat, no fish.  You get the idea.  You ate what was available, not what you wanted.

So it did not surprise me that when I was staying with local Russians, they would call each other up in the morning and discuss what each one had that day in the way of food.  Then they would meet up to share their food and to share time around the table.

To be invited to one's table is a joy!  When you are invited to share a meal, the host is saying, "you are good, you are welcome, you are loved."

Jesus ate with everyone.  The Pharisees scorned him for eating with sinners.  But what Jesus was saying by eating with them is quite amazing.  Imagine Jesus saying to you, "Come and dine!  You are worth it!  You are welcome here!

To share a meal with someone is a gift indeed.  Maybe this is why we say grace and give thanks before we eat.  To dine with another is a precious thing.

Who have you had over for dinner lately?  Who have you met for lunch?

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

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