My cousin, Eric, writes a column for some small town newspapers in Northern Minnesota where he muses about small town life, including church life. In one of his columns, he tackles the subject of church dinners, commenting “I choose church dinners by food rather than doctrine. Meatball suppers always tempt me. Ham never fails. Turkey is fine, but barbecue of any sort will lure me for sure. I regard lutefisk as a toxic substance. Let's hope terrorists never get a hold of it, because they could paralyze the entire country. I take long detours around lutefisk suppers just to be safe.”
Breaking bread together is a rich tradition in our Christian faith. I was strongly influenced by studying with the community of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. The Abbey is founded on the Rule of St. Benedict where “hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step toward dismantling the barriers of the world. Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time.” Based on the Benedictine Rule, everyone at the abbey—everyone--is received as Christ.
I believe hospitality to be one of the foundations of our life together and a profound act of caring. Imagine how we would benefit from always receiving each other as if we were receiving Christ. Hospitality is part of our culture at Pinnacle Presbyterian, and warm welcome has become a core value of our SAGE group where we break bread every Wednesday for our noon meal.
Jesus himself broke the bread, shared it, and said, “This is my body broken for you.” At our church meals, we do this in remembrance of Him, and we become the incarnation of the Body of Christ. Warm welcome is our table grace.