Advent with Eugene Peterson, No. 3

I’ve finished Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, and I must say I got far more out of it in the second reading. I usually don’t read things twice. I’m not the kind of guy who will watch a movie over and over again either, unless I just love it. But during my first read of Peterson’s book I kept thinking, “Man, there is so much stuff here…I should slow down and really let it sink in.” In any case, this will probably be my last Advent post on Peterson, and I just picked a quote that I underlined and starred, which means I really liked it.

Given the prominence of the Supper in our worshiping lives, the prominence of meals in the Jesus work of salvation, it is surprising how little notice is given among us to the relationship between the Meal and our meals. Our surprise develops into a sense of urgency when we recognize that a primary, maybe the primary, venue for evangelism in Jesus’ life was the meal. Is Jesus’ preferred setting for playing out the work of salvation on this field of history only marginally available to us? By marginalizing meals of hospitality in our daily lives have we inadvertently diminished the work of evangelism? And is there anything that can be done about it?

Reading this during Advent, I have a lot of thoughts swirling through my head. On one hand, I’m thinking about the day I have ahead of me. I’ll be taking food baskets to three different families in town today. I do have some relationship with each of these families, but I have never sat down to a meal with them outside of the Church. Think about that.

The other thing this makes me think about is Christmas meals with family. There are many folks in my family who don’t know Christ in a real way, and I wonder how my actions point, or fail to point, to Christ in acts of evangelistic hospitality.

Maybe you will be out and about taking part in similar activities. Hopefully in this time of meal after meal after meal, you can find ways to make Christ known in the meals you participate in. Then, you can imitate Christ in “evangelistic eating!”

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