When I first saw the title of the book, Much Depends on Dinner, it intrigued me even though, or maybe because, I didn’t fully understand it. In this treasure of a book, Margaret Visser shows how much of our life and world are shaped by what it takes to put dinner on the table. If we dropped food and meals from human life our world we be radically altered. There are wars that would have never been fought, migrations that would have never occurred, art that would have never been made, and friendships and marriages that would have never happened. Joy, money, love, art, community, economics and peace are all implicated in meals. Much depends on dinner. Maybe that’s why Luke describes Jesus’ mission strategy this way: “the Son of Man came eating and drinking” (7:34).
You can’t read the gospels and miss the fact that, for Jesus too, much depends on dinner. Meals are not merely the backdrop for Jesus’ ministry, they are themselves instances of Jesus enacting the kingdom of God. In the very fact that Jesus ate with “drunkards and gluttons,” the meal became a demonstration of grace, for instance. Jesus at table, this was a picture of the kingdom, where by way of a meal Jesus enacted not only grace, but also community, hope, mission, salvation and promise.
Beginning July 31, I will begin a sermon series called “A Meal with Jesus,” based on a book by the same title, by Tim Chester. We will spend more than a month in the gospel of Luke, looking at the table fellowship of Jesus, and what we can learn about kingdom living. There will also be many opportunities for us to grow in mission and community through this time, from potluck dinners to an event for your unchurched friends called “Come to the Table.” Stay tuned. Bring a friend. Read the book. Engage the sermons. Enjoy your meal.