This year, November 6 is Fall Back Sunday at Sandhurst. This is exciting because we get an extra hour of sleep at night! But more importantly, our church will get to have family-time together. First, everyone from kindergarten up will get to feast on the Word together in the Gathering. Then, everyone will get to feast on BBQ together in the gym. This might sound a little ho-hum to you. After all, what’s the big deal? It’s just a worship service and a meal, right? Actually, it is so much more.
I am so excited for parents to have the opportunity to worship and learn with their elementary-age kids this week. Together, moms and dads will offer musical praise with their children. And they will hear the living, active Word of God read with their children. They will gather to hear the voice of the King together. And they will be challenged together.
Likewise, I am thrilled that kids will see their parents submitting to the Word of God. Kids will see their parents striving to grow. They will see their parents exercising faith in the fact that Scripture is God breathed, useful, and transformative.
The theme of this week’s passage is conflict. That is what will be preached. While families can and should gather for worship regardless of the specific felt-needs addressed in a text, this one seems so clear and obvious. All families experience conflict. We can learn how to handle it together. But this is only half of what November 6 has in store.
The word conflict comes from words that mean “coming together” (con) “to fight” (flict). And we will learn about that. But after we learn, we will gather again to eat. The word companion comes from words that mean “coming together” (com) “for bread” (panis). Sometimes families fight (and we want to fight fair, with faithfulness, and with the other person’s best interest in mind). And it is good for families—even fighting families—to break bread together. Notice what Len Sweet has to say about this:
“Got some conflicted relationships—people who have attacked you and hurt you, whose very presence causes gruff intestinal rumble? The table reduces fighting. It has been proven that one of the secrets to a successful marriage and a loving family is to eat before you argue” (From Tablet to Table, 124).
We don’t need to get into the science or specifics of eating together and relationships here. But it is powerful. And it extends beyond our nuclear families to our church family. Tim Chester explains, “It’s possible to remain at a distance from someone in public gatherings—even in a Bible study. Meals bring you close” (A Meal with Jesus, 47). Two guys eating Mexican food together become “nach-bros.” Is there magic in the queso? No. But the food does make a difference.
Think of Jesus and Zacchaeus. Dinner made a difference for repentance. Think of the Last Supper. Dinner made a difference for perseverance. Think of the post-resurrection Jesus cooking fish for his disciples on the beach. Breakfast made a difference for restoration. In every instance, food was instrumental in the relationships.
All that to say, I hope that you are excited about what God will do through Bible and BBQ on Sunday. I know that I am. After all, the God who saved a tax-collector and reinstated a broken apostle is at work here too.