Imagine the last really marvelous meal that you ate. Can you think of one? What was the occasion? Where were you? Who were you with? What did you eat? How did it taste? And what was so special about that meal?
At least once a month, we eat together at church during the worship service. Admittedly, these communion “meals” rarely include spectacular food, and the portions are embarrassingly small. So why do we eat during church at all? What kind of strange snack is this, compared to the much more delicious and bountiful meals we eat elsewhere?
At church, we eat to remember. We remember Jesus, gathering with his friends and beloved disciples, on the eve of his death. We remember what he did, and what he said, as he tried to explain to this beloved group that although he was leaving them, he would always be present when they ate together in his name.
At church, we eat to imagine the future that God invites us to help bring about. We come together, people of all classes and nations and languages, gathering around one table. We begin to resemble the realm of God where all people are united, without injustice or suffering. We teach ourselves about God’s dream of unity and fuel ourselves for the work we must do to get there.
The food may be unremarkable. The helpings may be tiny. But when we eat at church, it’s a feast. It’s a grand occasion, gathering in the name of Jesus. We have an incredible host, and there’s an expansive guest list. As we eat and drink, we are connected: to long ago, and yet to come; to far away, and right here; to Jesus, and all of God’s creation. Whenever we eat this feast, may we be filled and satisfied.