Much of what we’ve been talking about under the Sabbath rhythm of church life has already involved feasting. We believe that the best way to facilitate enjoyment, expectation, and even submission as we receive from Jesus on Sundays is to do so in the context of a feast.
OF COUSE WE’RE A ‘FOOD CHURCH’
Scholars have observed that Jesus essentially eats his way through the gospel of Luke. He is always on his way to a meal, at a meal, or on his way from a meal. That means that every miracle of his goodness, every challenge made with love, every surprising embrace of his grace, every rebuke and warning to the self-righteous and hypocritical, and even every movement of his passion, occurs in the context of food and drink.
If you don’t eat and drink with your fellow disciples of Jesus, it’s very difficult to claim that you are, in fact, Jesus’ disciple. If you don’t share meals together with the family of God, it is very difficult to maintain that you are indeed a member of the household of faith.
A mark of a truly “churched disciple” in our context will be an increasing commitment to break bread on Sundays with your spiritual family. You should find it awkward to show up right at the time the service is supposed to start, and to have a seat with your hands folded in your lap. Hardly anyone else should be there; they ought to be clearing their plates, stealing a few extra moments of feasty togetherness around the tables, and savoring the bonds of friendship that are formed and strengthened over bagels and coffee, or pot luck fare.
A PRIORITY AND HABIT
So, make it a priority and a habit to feast with God’s people on the Sabbath, for this, in large measure, is what will make you Festal Sabbatarians, and not obtuse people who woodenly adhere to an ancient law.
In a sense, you owe it to your spiritual family members to show up ready to feast, just like you owe it to your mom to come to the table at dinner time, and just like you owe it to your grandmother to be at the big table on Thanksgiving Day. Your presence and your readiness to feast enriches the experience of the whole family.
And if your propensity is to keep the feast straight through the afternoon between festal gatherings, then have someone over for lunch or head to an Old Town eatery together.
HARD PLAY IS HARD WORK
One other thing to keep in mind: while the Sabbath is a day of rest, and may well involve a holy siesta, the growing disciple of Jesus recognizes that hard play is hard work. Do what you can to prepare your food on Saturday. Do what you can to leave the clean-up till Monday. Recognize that you’ll need energy to be joyful for a whole Sabbath feast, especially as you turn your face and your life toward your spiritual extended family in a posture of acceptance.
Trying to do everything on a Sabbath feast day, including making lots of meal preparations and cleaning your kitchen, will make it so that you won’t enjoy much of anything. Conserve your energy for the uniqueness of the Sabbath feast day.
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