"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Movement 2 - Breaking of the Bread
The audio was recorded on March 4, 2015
The Breaking of Bread
Luke 9:12-17 (NRSV)
The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
The second movement is about table-space. Sharing God’s story and a sign of God’s kingdom.
Meals important to ministry of Jesus. There are ten meal stories in the Gospel of Luke. In his book Rediscovering the Lord’s Supper, Markus Barth states, "“In approximately one-fifth of the sentences in Luke’s Gospel and in Acts, meals play a conspicuous role (Barth, 71).” Following Jesus to the table gives us an intimate window into his enacting of God's kingdom.
There is a common pattern - take, bless, break, give. We encounter this in the three accounts read earlier. We participate in this pattern as well when we gather at tables.
We can take patterns from the meal stories in Luke's Gospel and understand how they build on one another:
I. - Wilderness feeding is a visible sign of abundance through the kingdom of God - here and now, all have enough and are satisfied.
II. - Last Supper connects visible sign to already sacred meal. The Breaking of Bread is a movement in salvation history, connected to the Passover. Jesus re-imagines this meal and instills it in his movement. At the table we also encounter the promise of Jesus re-membered. There are future promises that will unfold from the table.
III. - Emmaus story reveals Jesus as Christ. One who shares bread and brings new life. Death cannot keep Jesus from the table. Death cannot keep Jesus from our tables.
We re-imagine the tables spaces in our lives because Jesus is present when we gather at these tables.
Importance of Table-Space
One of Paul’s struggles with Corinthian community was around table space. He tries to instill the power of Jesus' table space for that community, but they cling to the ways of the world. This leads to conflict (1 Corinthians 11:17-34).
Martin Luther knew the importance of table-space. He would invite students home to share meals. These were holy encounters of fellowship. We have a whole volume of Luther's Works dedicated to conversations from the table.
A few weeks ago I heard Leonard Sweet speak about reclaiming the table. He mentioned that statistics show that when families gather at least 3 nights a week at the table there is a positive effect on the grades, self-esteem, and positive relationships of kids. He told a story about how Steve Jobs, of Apple fame, would not allow Apples devices at the table. No screens at the table - family time.
We are already doing this.
- Lenten Meals
- Breakfast bar (other churches envy this!). So much energy in that room on Sunday mornings, it is truly holy ground
- Meals before Confirmation
Our call is to celebrate these moments. And then perhaps re-imagine them. How can they be deeper experiences, richer moments? How can we keep the momentum going?
For me, a personal struggle is not treating my table at like a shelf. It is far too easily cluttered. A goal is to reclaim the table-space in our home.
Table-space is holy ground. Table as most sacred space in the home - where we share the story, where Jesus is remembered, and where the discipleship journey is strengthened.How we think creatively about re-imaging and reclaiming this space in our midst?!
The world is hungry for Table-Space. And God is already present when we gather around tables, wherever they may be on our journey.