“Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” – Luke 5:29-30
A stranger invited me to dinner and I couldn’t say yes fast enough. The dinner was an intentional effort to facilitate conversation and foster understanding. The host was a friend of a friend and I was grateful to be included in this special supper. The dinner was modeled after the “The People’s Supper” movement. “The People’s Supper” began in 2016 and sought to encourage meaningful, peaceful conversations in the hope of building relationships that could bridge the ever widening chasms in our country. Each supper is guided by three agreements:
• I will grant you welcome, and I thank you for the welcome you grant me.
• I will show up, be present, and be open to creating this experience together.
• I will speak and listen with truth and love, agreeing or disagreeing with respect and kindness.
The table I attended was filled with good food and with good people from a wide range of religious traditions and experiences. We talked about faith, about truth, and about love. Coming together around a meal gave us a mutual grounding, it affirmed our common humanity, and it set the stage for a peaceful conversation.
There has been a growing movement of organizations promoting intentional, healing conversations over dinner: The People’s Supper, The Dinner Party, Death Over Dinner, and my personal favorite, Peacemeal.
Sharing a meal as a way to promote peace is nothing new. We see radical and beautiful examples of it in the life of Christ. And in a sense, we celebrate this spirit of peace with a meal regularly in church when we gather for Holy Communion. But you don’t have to wait until the first Sunday of the month to commune with God and with one another. We can celebrate this holy connection just about any time we share a meal.
Check out peacemeal.co for ideas and resource to host (or co-host) your own peaceful, transformative experience at the table of God.