They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42).
For many of us, food and church just go together. Meeting for church without ever gathering for a meal would be kind of like going to the movies without ever enjoying some popcorn on the side. Or maybe we could compare it to attending the NC State Fair without purchasing anything fried to eat. Or how about going to a pig pickin’ without filling up a plate with BBQ….I could go on and on! Somehow we just instinctively know food and church go together.
But what we might not fully appreciate is the spiritual significance of Christians eating together, especially when it’s paired with devotion to prayer. Authentic fellowship—that is, our efforts to work together for the building of God’s Kingdom—does not and cannot exist without intentionality and labor. Unless we work to strengthen the ties that bind, our natural drift will inevitably be away from each other. Consequently, starting with the earliest Christians, the Lord has provided common meals and prayer as means by which believers can renew and fortify their fellowship. Despite their simplicity, the Holy Spirit infuses our breaking of bread and our prayer with an unparalleled power.
Far too often we simply take eating for granted— “It’s just something we all have to do,” we might think. Yet the first disciples understood that eating together has a unique leveling effect because it reveals our common humanity. No one can live without sustenance, and so eating together serves to remind us all of the fragile and tenuous nature of human life. In other words, food shows us one of our most basic, inescapable needs.
The Spirit’s unifying power becomes most apparent, however, when we recognize and when we acknowledge the Presence of God in our midst through prayer. Breaking bread discloses our equal standing before God, but prayer knits us together as God’s redeemed people in Christ. It is vitally important, therefore, that we carve out times in the life of our church when we earnestly and purposefully gather to break bread and pray.
That is why we have scheduled a Covenant Gathering for Sunday, August 20, at 5:00 PM in the dining room. We hope to look back on the ways we have seen God at work in our fellowship, as well as prayerfully look ahead toward where God might be moving us in the days ahead. To keep this from being merely another social get together, I challenge us all to come hungry (physically and spiritually!), to come with a devoted mindset, and to come prepared to feel the power of authentic fellowship. May the Spirit make it so!