“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Acts 2:46-47
Upon moving into our new home, my roommates and I committed to creating a space to bring together friends and neighbors, spreading joy through food and hospitality. We brainstormed ideas for parties, we intentionally designed our home for entertainment. We aspired to make our home a place where everyone feels welcomed, necessary, and loved. We even named our home “Chez Heureuse” – French for “The Happy Home.” Whether inviting a friend over for coffee or planning a full blown party, we desired to make our home a space that incites exciting conversations, good humor, and joy.
One such avenue through which we bring people together is through monthly themed dinner parties. We launched our first party this past Friday, celebrating both the beginning of the academic year and our resolution to continued dinner parties by planning a New Year’s Eve themed evening. We invited six friends total, two per roommate – some close friends, others we’d just met, with the goal that by the end of the night everyone would feel welcomed into our community of friends.
Our theme carried into both the menu and table conversation – preparing a feast of Chinese food and discussing various types of resolutions we’ve all made. From wrapping dumplings to sharing stories of resolutions kept and broken, every aspect of the evening encouraged guests to get to know one another outside of the traditional questions of job and family. At the end of dinner, one guest remarked “I don’t even know where any of you were born, but you know my middle name.”
Acts 2 tells of the fellowship of Believers that formed after Pentecost. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” I do not consider it any minute detail that the author highlighted the fact that they ate together alongside their devotion to prayer, fellowship, and adherence to the apostles’ teachings. Dinner parties and hospitality were not simply a form of entertainment, but a necessary aspect by which they shared their commitment to following Christ.
It continues to amaze me that the communal meal is such a powerful tool to bring people together and that the early Church acknowledged its necessity. By bringing people into our home, we too engage in the practices of our early Christian family, we spread the love of God through food and hospitality. Rarely do I think of the book of Acts as the model for my Friday night socializing. However, in aspiring to make our home a space for intriguing conversation, laughter, and joy, we unintentionally followed the example of our ancestors in faith. And I pray that through this hospitality, the Lord adds daily to the number those who see His love in us.