12 May 2013

Eating with the Enemy

What really caught people's attention was that Christians ate together.

In the ancient world, only close friends and family would eat together. If you were invited for a meal it was a sure sign of friendship. But these Christian meals involved people who wouldn't normally have been seen dead together. 'Enemies' ate together as friends.

Men and women, young and old ate together. Upper Class and Slave Class, rich and poor ate together. Educated and uneducated ate together. Black and white, Jew and Gentile all ate together. The barriers that had separated and segregated them has somehow been removed. They ate together as families eat together.

How come? It's because by becoming Christians they had received a new identity. It's because by becoming Christians they were now members of a new family whose Father is God himself. The Bible tells us that as soon as a person puts their faith in Christ Jesus, God adopts them as his child.

Perhaps the most striking thing the Bible says about these Christian meals is this: when Christians met and ate they were actually eating the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11). In other words, they were at God's table, where he was welcoming them all as his friends and family.

That's very striking because by nature all people are sinners – rebels in God's world and his enemies; alienated from him. But the point about Jesus is that he came to do all that was necessary to reconcile sinners to God. By his death on a cross, he removed all our sins. He removed everything that made us repulsive and unacceptable to God. And, believing in him, he made us acceptable in God's eyes, such that he welcomes us as friends to eat with him. Through faith in Christ Jesus we have peace with God. (Romans 5 v 1).

So, Christian meals bring together people who were previously alienated from God and from each other. It's the sort of community that we all want. And it's what you see the makings of every Sunday at St. George's. People who wouldn't normally have given each other the time of day meet together as friends and God's family. And as many as can stay, do stay for lunch, and we eat the Lord's Supper together.

Why not join us? God does not discriminate. All who would come to him through faith in his Son Jesus are welcome.

Simon Smallwood