I am always hungry. Anyone who knows me will tell you that. But I’m not really hungry and neither are you. Hungry is not when you didn’t have time to grab something for dessert. Hungry is when you don’t know how you’re going to feed your family for the third day running.
It’s shocking really that today, at a time when we provide enough food for everyone – if not more, hunger is one of the world’s biggest problems. One in eight people will go hungry today – that’s more than two million children who will die this year because they haven’t had enough to eat. Like I said, I’m not really hungry.
Today, we live in a global community – we’re connected to people all across the world, and when we’re instructed to love our neighbours that doesn’t stop at the end of our street; it extends to our neighbours who grow our food, our neighbours who make our clothes and our neighbours who are hungry because of our actions.
I’ve got an idea. It sounds a bit strange, but I think if we want to make sure everyone has enough to eat then we need to start eating more.
When Jesus sat down to eat with other people, something special happened. The hungry got fed. The rich sat down to eat with the poor. Those who were ignored by society suddenly became included. It’s interesting that if you look through the Bible, so often we see that whenever people are having meals it isn’t just about eating food. In fact it’s not just interesting, it’s significant. Meals happened in connection with social justice, with caring for the poor and the provision of needs.
The early Church ended poverty in their community – we read it in Acts: “They shared everything they had and there were no more needy people.” This sharing of provisions, the redistribution from those who had more than enough giving to those who didn’t have anything happened whenever they sat down to eat together, and it happened as a direct result of people being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Today we’ve lost what the real meaning of eating together is, we don’t do it enough and we don’t do it in the right way.
What would it look like if we started to have biblical meals? If every meal we had became an opportunity to bring together the rich and the poor, to take campaign actions, to pray for those in need, to redistribute our resources, to share with each other and build community? – a community that encompasses every last human being on the planet. We can only end poverty if we do it together, by living, dreaming, and acting in community.
It’s ironic perhaps, but I think that if we want to make sure everyone has enough to eat then getting together for dinner might be just the thing we need to do. It’s not about us eating more food, but it is about us eating together more often; the way Jesus did.