By Stephen Leonard
“When He was at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him.”
Meals are worship. They really are! When you sit down to eat a meal with loved ones, do you consider it to be worship? It certainly could be such. Furthermore, it should be such.
Heaven opens with a meal, namely, a marriage feast, one which is called in Scripture “the marriage supper of the Lamb,” spoken of in Revelation 19, also in Matthew and Luke; and particularly alluded to in John 2, the marriage at Cana. A meal is an opportunity to worship. Even more than an opportunity, it is a privilege of worship.
Many of us begin our meals with a prayer, called, by some, “grace” from the Latin “gratiarum actio,” meaning “an act of thanks.” We sanctify each meal in the name of Jesus. God is who is responsible for every good gift to you, which all meals truly are, a gift! Jesus and Paul certainly set the example for us when they prayed and gave thanks before eating.
Why is a meal an act of worship? First, it is eaten in thanksgiving to God. Next, just as Jesus broke bread with the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus on the day of His resurrection, we too ought to invite Him to break bread with us and with those who share our meal. It is an act of corporate worship when you thus eat with others. And when you invite Him to partake with you, He may reveal Himself to you as He did these two.
Each meal can be a foretaste of the marriage supper of the Lamb. We ought to consider our meals as such and consider in them part of our engagement to our Bridegroom, for we belong to Him. Every meal ought to consider this relationship to Him and also to one another through Him.
You should have an interest in your neighbor. Your conversation should not only be intently focused on others who partake of this meal with you, but on coming to know and love them more intimately.
The Savior and His sanctifying of you by His Spirit ought to be your consideration as you enjoy your food, both physical and spiritual. The living Word is your true food, for “man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word which proceeds from the mouth of God.” Jesus truly is your “living” bread.
Meals ought to be a feast of enjoyment, as eating your food is one of your greatest enjoyments, no matter how little or abundant there is to eat. Consumed with the feeling of gratitude, you should not be able even to forget God, who indeed provides your daily bread. Never eat without God on your heart and mind.
This is why every meal you partake of should be an act of worship. As Psalm 23 affirms, “He prepares a table before you,” and He does this over and over. Indeed it is a confirmation that His goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your life. Continuous meals in your life reflect the goodness and mercy of God.
Remember this as you sit down to feast with your loved ones and enjoy together with your most Loved One, Jesus, even today on Thanksgiving Day. Every meal, simple or lavish, should not only be one more Thanksgiving celebration, but a foretaste of the marriage supper of heaven.
“Ten thousand thousand precious gifts my daily thanks employ; nor is the least a cheerful heart that tastes those gifts with joy.”
(4th verse of Joseph Addison’s hymn, “When All Your Mercies, O My God,” 1712)