Breaking Bread in the Community

Amy Luscher Smith   •   February 15, 2019


Early on a Sunday morning, I would come sleepy-eyed to the breakfast table at my grandmother’s house and, perched in a chair, watch her prepare the feast that would later be Sunday dinner. Standing at the stove in her nightgown that reached her ankles, holding a worn, blackened wooden spoon, she would stir a pot on the stove for minutes that seemed like hours until a vanilla pudding came together from scratch. She later would add bananas, cookies, and whipped cream for her banana pudding.

On summer Sundays, the smell of chicken frying in a flat skillet on the porch would wake us up from deep sleep with promises of our favorite lunch after church. My grandmother, who I called Mammaw, came from the generation of women who cooked for the farm hands after a long day of manual labor in our tobacco fields. Mammaw made everything from scratch, and I’m certain always she had at least two, if not three, meats and six or more vegetables cooked fresh that morning.

This was her labor of love that she played out each week so that her family and friends could come together at her table and enjoy a slow Sunday afternoon in community. Around the table, we discussed the sermon, prayed for those who were sick or in need, and planned for the week ahead so that everyone’s needs would be met.

As I think about these memories of food and community, it reminds me of the way God portrays food and fellowship in the New Testament, after the last supper, after the crucifixion, and after the resurrection. In the new world without Jesus, how else should believers stay close together and help one another? What better way to meet and nourish one another than through both physical nourishment of food and spiritual nourishment of like-minded companions?

In Acts 2, we see how the believers used food to strengthen their community. Verse 42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Later in verses 46-47, “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Over 2,000 years later, perhaps the most humble tradition left to us by Christ is still playing out in homes worldwide. The sharing of a meal. A prayer among believers as we break bread together. Support for one another for the tasks ahead.

In what ways do you offer the gift of community to those around you?

What can Jesus’ kind of community offer you that is missing from your life today?

How can breaking bread together become a new way for you to interact with other believers?