BENEFITS OF THE FAMILY MEAL
Close your eyes and picture a family dinner. A “June Cleaver” mom is in an apron and pearls, “Ward” in a sweater and tie. The children’s hands are washed and their hair combed. The savory aroma of a home-cooked meal fills the air. Everyone, including the family dog, listens intently to what is being said.
Is this what dinner looks like at your house? In real-life families dinner can be messy—there might be cooking and dining mishaps, arguing and complaining among family members, and other things competing for our attention. Though a sit-down meal as a family can be challenging to pull together regularly, and sometimes may appear dysfunctional, there are clear benefits. Countless studies have concluded that children who eat several times per week with their family are at lower risk for poor eating habits, weight problems, depression, and alcohol/substance dependencies, plus they tend to perform better academically than their peers who frequently eat alone or away from home.
When Christ told his disciples to continually meet and break bread together, he was aware of the overall health benefits it would provide. As a church family, we face many distractions and potential disagreements that can lure us away from unity. Our personal idiosyncrasies may even tempt us into thinking we are not worthy to be a part of this family and meal. We have differing opinions and preferences, but coming to the table allows us to regroup and refocus on one essential that bonds us. Left to our own accord, we are as broken as this world, but Jesus, through his death and resurrection, has forgiven us and provided a means of hope for every person who chooses to accept it. The Lord’s Supper is a springboard for confessing, forgiving, and repairing unity in the church.
May our family battle cry be the truth set forth in Ephesians 4:3-6:
[We will] make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.