For a while now, I’ve wondered what it would be like to have set hours out in the community on a regular basis. As part of our #WithOurNeighbors emphasis this summer, I decided to spend Thursday nights at Rosa’s Café. Every Thursday night this summer (except for VBS Open House and 4th of July), I have been at Rosa’s Café on Precinct Line Road from 6-8 p.m. for Let’s Taco ‘Bout It.
I provide the chips and queso and am available to talk to whomever about whatever. Some weeks, several people have come; some weeks, I’ve been alone with my book (and food). Every week has provided either interesting conversation or time for people watching, reading and reflection.
Some who have come to eat and chat have been from FUMC Hurst, and others have not. I have enjoyed getting to spend time with people that I normally do not get to have conversations with. I have learned more about many people in and out of FUMC Hurst. I have also been able to introduce people to others they did not yet know. These informal meals together have been a good way to break down the artificial barriers that the church building can put up.
One of the books I have read while at Rosa’s Café is We Will Feast: Rethinking Dinner, Worship, and the Community of God by Kendall Vanderslice. Vanderslice believes that the Church needs to return to communal meals as modeled by the early Christian communities. Not only is the act of eating important, but Vanderslice reminds her readers that we are created to live in community. She writes, “The Creator carefully designed humans and animals with two primary needs: to draw nutrition and energy from food in order to sustain life and to find companionship in sharing life with others. The only thing God called ‘not good’ in the initial act of creation was a human being alone.”
Vanderslice writes in the Foreword, “A meal savored with other glorious image-bearers does not save the world, but it helps restore our hearts in order to keep moving through it.” I love this image of those who sit in a crowded, noisy, bright (in both color and light) Tex-Mex restaurant sharing chips and queso after a long day as “glorious image-bearers” of the Divine. We laugh and commiserate and remind one another that we are not alone.
Sharing chips and queso may not be a sacrament, but it is a sacred moment when shared with others.
“Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47)