In his book, Surprise the World, Michael Frost wants to encourage followers of Jesus to adopt 5 habits that he believes will not only help us cultivate a deeper connection with God and a stronger sense of community with one another, but will also help us share our faith with others in ways that are surprising and deeply meaningful.
The first of these habits, which we explored last Sunday, was to Bless 3 people every week – 1 fellow church member, 1 non-church member, and 1 more person from either category.
The second habit, which we will be exploring this Sunday, is to Eat with 3 people every week – at least one of whom is not a member of your church.
Lots of surprising things can happen around a meal. One of the most surprising things about Jesus was who he ate with. His detractors regularly accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton. Jesus was neither of those things, but obviously his preparedness to eat and drink with sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes gave his enemies plenty of ammunition.
He began his public ministry by miraculously providing huge amounts of high quality wine at a wedding feast in Cana where the wine had run out (John chapter 2). The water jars Jesus used to turn water into wine had been set aside for the ceremonial washing associated with Jewish purification rites. According to these rites, if someone felt they had been ‘contaminated’, for example by contact with someone outside of their religious community (i.e. Gentiles), they would wash in water and recite certain prayers to restore themselves to their ceremonially purified state before God.
Jesus takes these symbols of the religious separation between people, between Jews and Gentiles, between the holy and the unholy, and fills them with wine, the universal symbol of hospitality, inclusion and fellowship, and then continues to do this through the rest of his earthly ministry.
This Sunday we’ll be exploring how we can practice a similar kind of radical and surprising hospitality through the simple act of sharing a meal, and you are invited!
Please see Shonaugh Moore for tickets and details.