Taste and See that the Lord is Good

Taste and See that the Lord is Good

Thursday, 7 March 2019  | Narelle - MECS Principal

Recently we bought a new ‘good’ table! You know, the one that goes in the dining room and you use it for special occasions. It sits ten people – enough for all the family. I love it. However, already I am sad that we don’t use it often enough. It sits in the dining room, offering potential. Potential for long evenings of fun and conversation, of dinner parties with close friends, of Sunday lunches like we used to have. Growing up, Sunday lunch always happened around the ‘good’ table. A table that belonged to my great-grandparents. This table is where food and stories were passed from one person to another and one generation to another. It is where we grew up.

Yet today, in our homes, we are losing the concept of the family table. Time spent at shared mealtimes is less than half of what it used to be a generation ago. Our tables can be replaced by sofas in front of the TV, in the car, or take away outlets. This loss of the family table has measurable effects on our families and children’s health both physically, psychologically and spiritually. Put in positive terms, children raised in homes where there are frequent family dinners are at a reduced incidence of childhood obesity, eating disorders and teenage mental health issues. Their vocabularies are more extensive, relationships more trusting and behaviours more helpful towards others. The facts are rather compelling.

Have you ever noticed how many of Jesus’ meals are in the Gospels? They feature so prominently that scholars have commented that Jesus ‘ate his way through the gospels’! Jesus redefined the ‘family table’ to demonstrate the ways of his Father’s Kingdom. When he fed five thousand people on a hillside, all of them had become his ‘family’ and the hillside became his ‘table’. Over the course of the gospels, we see Jesus’ family including singles, marrieds, widows, orphans, lepers and sinners. Upper rooms, private homes, alongside fields and the shores of the sea become places for ‘table fellowship’. Jesus ate all kinds of food around all kinds of tables in all kinds of places with all kinds of people. He revealed the kingdom as he shared meals with others.

One of the most fundamental places we can model the importance of relationships to our children is through the prioritising of family mealtimes. In our busy lives pressured with after school activities, teenage work shifts and constant accessibility to distractions such as mobile phones, it can be increasingly difficult. Finding a night where everyone is home is nearly impossible! However, the attraction of a home cooked meal, lively conversation and the reinforcement of loving, secure relationships meets the relational hunger that God has placed in all our hearts.

At the table, sitting together, facing each other, talking to each other over good food, conversation, laughs and stories we also learn the good news of God. When you set the table in your home, you invite all those in your family to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ (Ps 34:8). It is into this sacred environment that the gospel can be shared.

Now, before some of you think I live in ‘La La Land’, imagining your family dinners to be places of domestic bliss and harmony, I know the challenges well! Siblings fighting, children refusing to eat what is served, babies getting food everywhere, the same menu week after week… nonetheless, whenever and however we break bread together, no matter what this may look like, Jesus is always at the table. His presence brings grace, forgiveness, and a sense of belonging and offers a glimpse into the radical kingdom of God where we will enjoy the abundance of his feast and hospitality for ever.


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