The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Luke 7:34
The table neatly set. Plates, forks, spoons, knives. Glasses of milk are poured. Steam from hot food rises; smells of home-cooked goodness. Mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, rolls, okra, corn on the cob. “Thank you, Lord, for our many blessings,” prays my Granddaddy. And then we eat. But we don’t just eat. We talk, we laugh, we recount the activities of the day. We learn. We listen. My Grandmommy tries to get up several times to get this or that but my Granddaddy beckons her back with “Sit down, Mother.” He doesn’t want her to miss this. This time together. This table moment that goes beyond physical nourishment. It is soul nourishment.
So much of eating is a vehicle for something more. For friendship. For conversation. For relationship. The Son of Man came eating and drinking. He came for friendship, for conversation, for relationship. He meets us where we are at and extends friendship to the least deserving. And he gets highly criticized for it. In first century culture who you sat with at the table was who you were identifying with. No wonder he was called a glutton and a drunkard. Even if he wasn’t overeating or over-drinking, the fact that he was at a meal with those who were made him just like them. Despite the criticism, Jesus continued to seek out the sinner and to befriend the outcast. And he did this through the most basic and regular rhythm of our everyday lives: meals. They come three times a day, every day. And he was there. Not only to eat, but to listen, to tell stories, to ask questions. To extend friendship.
What comes to your mind as you think of the many meals you have experienced in your life? Perhaps you have some fond memories of meals similar to what I shared and perhaps you have some painful memories. This week, pick a meal to share with a friend or a stranger. Be spontaneous and reach out with a “let’s do lunch.”
By Ellen Rosenberger