The Centrality of Dinner Companions Print
Theology
Written by Luke Jankovic   
Thursday, 16 December 2010 14:38

First in a series . . .

When I moved to Moscow a number of years ago from the suburbs of Chicago, my life changed almost immediately. Of course, one of the reasons for this change was the teaching I was receiving in the classes I was taking. But the other reason for the change was that I was being absorbed into a distinctly Christian community. Now I want to argue here that the reason that our community as a community is becoming distinctively Christian, and is developing a distinctively Christian cultural bent, is twofold. First, it is focusing on the centrality of worship and the importance of the Lord’s Supper (manifested in weekly communion), and second there is an emphasis on feasting and fellowshipping with each other in thankfulness. Both of these emphases have been used of God to begin to shape the unique nature of this community of believers.

When Christ Church first decided to serve the Lord’s Supper every week, the elders knew that they were getting themselves into something and that sin was going to get pushed to the surface. Furthermore, a focus on worship and the Eucharistic meal of thanksgiving was rapidly followed by a focus and emphasis on other meals of thanksgiving among the members of the body. Feasting in the joy of the Lord and thanksgiving for what He has given became part of the conscious effort of the church.

I arrived right around that time, when it seems these things were really starting to be practiced in earnest. Coinciding with this was the growing harassment and persecution of the church by the local intolerista community. All of this is to say that the focus on right worship and its overflow had produced a culture that was growing more and more clearly antithetical to the greater American culture, particularly our local forms of it.

In this series of articles, I want to walk through every step of why these emphases are causing this community to develop a more and more distinctive culture, and I want to focus on what I think one of the more important underlying causes is. That underlying cause would be the nature of food itself, as seen in Scripture, and the importance of it in worship and in all of life. This thesis will be rather personal, with some autobiographical information along the way, but one should note that it seeks to argue from Scripture on why these two emphases in community have been so potent in the church. Primarily it will be an argument for a more specific view of the meaning and power of food in this world.

Therefore I will attempt a scriptural discussion of the culture-defining power and centrality of worship, the centrality of food in worship, the outflow of that kind of worship in defining the nature of feasting and fellowship generally, and finally discussing the Lord’s Supper and its archetypal nature. The intent is to show what meaning and importance God has built into food. A good summary of my thesis would be that, by the gracious determination of God, we are what we eat and we become who we eat with. Furthermore in additional support of this, stealing some salad dressing from the Egyptians, I will have a separate chapter on how (through common grace) many observers in the social sciences have come to similar conclusions about the authority of food.



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