Iâ€™m going to start writing a regular bit about the Sabbath dinner because I believe it is such an important part of Sabbath living that we need to recover. So this will be the first of a few articles.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Ten years ago our family made a principled decision to start feasting on the Lordâ€™s Day and it was one of the best things we ever did. We had no idea at the time what it would grow to mean to us and to everyone around our table. And we had not an inkling of what a delight it would be to have the grandchildren gather around with us.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Because my husband is a pastor and Sunday is a â€œworkingâ€ day for him, he prefers that we celebrate Saturday night. It works very well for our family. Dinner is at six and by seven-thirty the grandkids are ready for bed anyway, so they can all head home and still have their evening ahead of them. Of course things like weddings or other events can throw off our schedule, and when that happens, we try to have our Sabbath dinner after church.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Saturday works well for me too. I can get the menu together, pick up anything I still need, and have plenty of time to prepare. And if Saturday is full of other activities, then I plan a meal that doesnâ€™t require all-day oversight. The point is to be disciplined in our celebrating. We really are novices when it comes to feasting, and the weekly practice has helped us get further along.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Ecclesiastes 9:7 tells us to â€œGo, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart.â€ My daughter attached that verse to her bright red kitchen wall. God wants us to be joyful and merry, and that is part of what incarnational living is about. We want fat souls around our tables, sloshing around in merriment and thanksgiving. Psalm 118:15 says, â€œThe voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous.â€ I like to think of the noisy celebrations around our town on Saturday night as the saints prepare to worship God at His table the next morning.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Our culture has drifted far away from the family dinner, much less the Sunday dinner. I read somewhere that furniture factories do not produce as many dining room tables as they used to because it is becoming obsolete in the American home. We are told that the formal dining room is a waste of square footage that we could put to good use with a home theatre instead. What a barren thought!
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Our Sabbath dinner is not a new idea. We are bringing back an old idea, the idea of the Sunday dinner; we simply celebrate on Saturday night as a kickoff for the big game in the morning. For many Christians Sunday after church just works far better for them, and I certainly have no complaint with that. The point is to be gathering around the table to feast and celebrate on a weekly basis, whether it is the kickoff on Saturday night or to crown the Sabbath day after church. What we want is to have this become an integral part of our family and church culture.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Now of course this kind of thing is a lot of work. It has to be figured out and planned for. But it is potent in a very wonderful way the same way grace is potent. When we rejoice together around the table, God is transforming us. And that is something to rejoice about.
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