Last Sunday night Blvd Abbey had a community dinner and open house. What an amazing time; connecting with friends both new and old, and hearing stories from people in diverse places on their spiritual journey.
I introduced our evening with a quote from Lauren F. Winner’s ‘Mudhouse Sabbath,’ where she describes the connections between eating in Jewish practice and Christianity. It had changed her. But it had shaped more than her relationship to food. It “shaped my spiritual life… (transforming) eating from a mere nutritional necessity into an act of faithfulness. The protagonist of your meal is not you; it is God.”
Jesus had such a relationship to food too; seeing the table as an opportunity for a transformational encounter between God and those gathered. In fact, breaking bread was a theme in the life and ministry of Christ. From eating with outcasts (whom many called ‘sinners’), to feeding the five thousand, to his last meal with his disciples, table fellowship was central to Jesus.
I am always amazed at the meaningful connections that happen as a community eats and drinks together; viewing our action, yes as a dinner party, yet also as a sacred act. Together we are paying attention to God. And one of the things I heard numerous times throughout Sunday evening was, ‘this is so refreshing!’ I agree… There is something encouraging and energizing when a community gathers in this way.
Eating and Drinking is part of the regular spiritual rhythm of the Blvd Abbey community. We embrace an everyday spirituality, where something as simple as a meal together can become something more. Glimpses of the reality of God’s life can happen here and now, “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Because God welcomes us around the table of his grace, we invite others to gather; at our community dinner and at the Lord’s Table often called Communion.
And those who follow in the Way of Jesus also find simple ways to make this hospitality a part of our rhythm of life… from being open to the voice of someone outside your immediate circle, or joining friends for a meal, a beer or a coffee. It can go even further, by offering “a cup of cold water” to someone in need we catch a glimpse of the Kingdom. Amazing things can happen when we share food.
“For it is only in company that eating is done justice; food must be divided and distributed if it is to be well received.” -Walter Benjamin
To see our full ‘BELLS’ spiritual rhythm, go to: https://blvdabbey.wordpress.com/about/
If you came last Sunday, we’d love to see you again! We are gathering this Sunday night 6pm, @ The Park Gallery. To see what happens at these gatherings, or for directions, go here http://www.blvdabbey.com/rhythm.html.
Comments? Stories? Share them here on the blog.
All are invited, starting right where they are, to begin the sacred practice of hospitality.
Peace to You, Matt