Len Sweet is one of the most influential Christians in North America. So when he writes a book (From Tablet to Table: Where Community Is Found and Identity Is Formed) that espouses principles that we who are involved in the simple/organic/house church movement hold dear, I sit up and take notice.
From Tablet to Table examines the importance of meals in the life of Jesus and the early church and why this is significant for us today. Jesus performed much of his ministry and teaching around the meal table, and the early church placed a heavy emphasis on “sharing meals from house to house.” In fact, the New Testament contains many examples of hospitality–of being both a host and a guest. Why the importance?
In the New Testament, the communion table was not a wafer and sip of wine, but occurred in the context of a full meal. We live in a day of fast-food and drive through meals. As a culture we have largely lost the benefit of sitting together, enjoying our food in a leisurely fashion and telling stories that will live down through the generations. Meals together form relationship and community. So what might happen if we brought shared meals back into the life of our churches and gave the table a place of pre-eminence in our interactions with the communities we live in?
Another facet of this book I appreciated was the idea that the Scriptures can be a spiritual feast from which we gain sustenance for our souls. God nourishes us through his word and gives us strength to live our lives as his ambassadors here on earth.
There are many good and practical ideas in this little book. It’s definitely worth reading!
(Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publishers.)