Acts 2:46 – Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity.

Gratitude Day 839

There is something that happens when people gather together and eat. More than one holy moment has been created around a dinner table in my life. I hope you kind of understand what I am talking about?

Growing up, on the day of your birthday, my Mom let us select what we would have for dinner. It was our choice. Yes, of course, it was within reason. It was going to be a homecooked meal, by the way. No lobster here.

Yet, this was one little way to celebrate your special day. If you didn’t like what someone else picked for their birthday meal, well, soon enough, you would be able to select the meal when your birthday rolled around.

Think of the memories and traditions that have been born out of food. Special meals at holidays, certain times of the year, as a way to celebrate or honor something special.

Brats and burgers from the grill on 4th of July when our friends, the Tumm’s would come over for dinner. Then, we’d all go to the fireworks held at the nearby lake. We sat on towels on the beach eating popcorn and drinking soda.

Lamb for Easter. Growing up, my sister’s and I raised sheep. Lamb was always included in our Easter meal.

Taco salad when my Dad was gone on a Saturday. My Dad believed that raw veggies were not something humans should be required to eat. A lettuce salad was not part of his regular food rotation. So, when it was just my Mom, sisters and me on a Saturday, we always had taco salad. And we ate as much of it as we possibly wanted.

Oyster stew on Christmas Eve. A tradition that Hubby Rick and I still follow today.

The list could go on and on.

Just as strong for me are the stories of preparing the food, cooking and canning with my grandmothers. Those memories, smells and tastes automatically draw me back to a time and memory that are engrained into my very being.

Maybe this is why I related so much to this article that I ran across this week. It features my dear friend, Pam, who is a master cheesemaker. Yep, she is one of only two women in the world that is a master cheesemaker. You’ll want to read the article to find out exactly what this means. You’ll also want to see how the person interviewing Pam, as well as Pam, share how food has been such an important part of their upbringing. For both, food invoke strong memories and influences what they are doing today.

Actually, these strong memories, these influential moments of being together at a table are not a recent phenomenon. When the first Christians gathered together, they ate together in one another homes, we are told. It wasn’t enough for the new Christians to be together in worship. Nope, they wanted to gather around the table and share bread. Wine. Conversation. Each other’s lives.

Is it any surprise that Jesus shared with the disciples his final fate as they sat gathered around a table, breaking bread and eating together? It shouldn’t be because Jesus was a social guy. He loved a good party just as much as the next person. Time and time again, we see Jesus gathered at someone’s house and eating. Celebrating something special together. Jesus knew that if he could get a group together around a table, he would have the great opportunity to teach them something. Why? Because people let their guards down when they are eating. They don’t expect some big theological teaching. They just want to be together. And eat.

Jesus also knew that in the casualness of a meal, he could share something with the people present that might be difficult to do in a larger space. He could open up his heart. Bear his soul. Connect with them. Share something that would be personal.

Oh, how many times I have shared something personal, meaningful or important with someone else as we shared a meal together. For some reason, it just feels a bit more intimate and possible to share those things that are on my heart and mind when I am also breaking bread with someone.

Just as Jesus used food and eating together as an opportunity to connect with people, we should do the same. With picnics and gatherings and being with people we might not see often happening in these next few months, food and eating and being together are wonderful spaces where we can simply be in community with one another. We might have an opportunity to share something special and important in our lives. Or simply be together and enjoy each other’s company. Celebrate small moments and create memories that will be etched in our memories for days when we need something positive to reflect upon.

For Hubby Rick and me, this happened on Memorial Day. Our youngest grandson had a baseball game that day. The starting time was moved up two hours so the players and their families could enjoy a picnic together at the end of the game. Families were asked to bring food. When I asked our grandson what we should bring, he suggested ice cream.

It was quite warm on Monday. Near 90 degrees, which for us on Memorial Day, is warmer than normal. With a little pre-planning, we were able to bring a sundae bar to the ballfield and not have melted ice cream.

The best part of it? Seeing the kid’s eyes when they saw the build-your-own sundae bar. Four different kinds of ice cream. Several different toppings. Enough for seconds and thirds if anyone wanted. (And yes, some of those ball players came back more than once!)

Here’s my point. It was just a sundae bar. You would have thought it was something fancy. The gratitude, the appreciation was worth it all. Everyone enjoyed the picnic. It was a great way to end a holiday weekend. All created because someone was willing to grill some hotdogs and brats and others brought along the rest of the picnic food. We will remember this picnic long into the winter when it is cold and we dream of a warm day when we can be outside in shorts and t-shirts.

What are some of your favorite memories created around food? What smells and tastes catapult you back to an early date and time? How can you create similar special experiences this summer with others? Here are a few ideas.

  • June is dairy month. As a farm gal, I am a strong supporter of it! Invite a few people together. Have a sundae bar, a cheese tasting, or a milk tasting bar. Find an area June Dairy Month breakfast or event and attend.
  • Invite friends over for smores. Have a variety of different ingredients for making fun and unique smores.
  • Have a meal at the park. Pick up simple food from the grocery store or carry-outs. (This has been one of our favorite food memories with our grandkids. They love just being outside and eating in a different place. Plus, time to play in the park!)
  • Have a potluck or gathering for no reason at all, other than getting together. Pick a date/time and invite your neighbors or friends over.
  • Go to a local food festival and try something new and different that you normally wouldn’t eat. Be adventurous!
  • Invite someone out to eat after Sunday worship or another time. This is especially meaningful for a single person who often dreads having another meal alone. If possible, make it your treat.
  • Another favorite of mine? A walk-and-talk with coffee and a snack afterwards. Ask a friend to go for a morning walk. End with coffee and treats.
  • Come up with your own suggestion/idea/something that you’ve done before and share with the rest of us!

The smells and tastes of summer food are fantastic. Tart rhubarb. Fresh strawberries. Melting ice cream. A cheeseburger right off the grill. An ice-cold smoothie. Jesus doesn’t have to be the only person who uses time around the dinner table and food to connect, relate and share. May we be inspired to do the same this summer.

For the opportunity to create lots of special memories and times around food, I am very grateful.

Blessings –


Almighty God – Thanks for teaching us that Jesus loved a good party. Gathering with other people, simply to be in connection with people that he loved. May we embrace the opportunities to spend time with those we love during these summer days. Inspire us to use food and the dinner table as a place where we can share and deepen our connections with others and with You. Amen.

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