When we as Christians open our homes to friends and strangers, set the table, put on a meal, and break bread together, we invite God's blessing. This pattern of hospitality is at the heart of the gospel. Food for the body and food for the soul can and does belong together. Table fellowship fits into the New Testament narrative so unobtrusively that we can almost miss it. Jesus used simple hospitality and meal time conversations to share some of the most profound truths of the gospel. Our Faith is often squeezed into a corner of life reserved for church services and Bible study groups. But God desires to be at the centre of our ordinary, every-day life together and never more so than in a home open to others. Table grace is food for the mind, a metaphor for communion with God. Table grace is food for the body, a means for sustaining physical strength. Table grace is food for the soul, a method for understanding God's values. Table grace is food for the hungry, a model for serving Christ and his Kingdom.
In this exploration of Christian hospitality, Beeson Divinity School professor Webster (Second Thoughts for Skeptics) discusses sharing meals as an important component of living the Christian life. For Webster, hospitality includes expectant waiting; openness to possibility; willingness to be interrupted; trust; eager attentiveness to the guest; and the inclusion of marginalized people at the table. True to the adage that the way to a persons heart is through the stomach, the book moves from physical hospitality to the centrality of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, who is far more important than food. Webster does a good job of focusing on Bible stories that depict eating together and at offering discussion questions at the end of each chapter. Some may be made uneasy by his caricatures of Pharisees. Some may be motivated to change by a message that attempts to prod peopleespecially consumer-oriented suburbanitesout of their complacency. Others will relish Websters meat and potatoes fare of traditional evangelical theology. (Jan.)Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.
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