By Not Known
There was an interesting report in the Straits Times last week about family ties. The headline read, “More tucking in to Eat With Your Family Day.” Some office staff were let off an hour earlier to go home for a family meal, and one school even taught its 1500 pupils how to prepare simple dishes to share together on that day. This is the thirteenth year that the Centre for Fathering – a non-profit group which wants fathers to be more involved in their children’s lives – is promoting this emphasis.
Certainly in our fast-paced, activity-filled society this is a timely reminder. Families can become easily fragmented by the busyness of parents at work, children in school for long hours, not to mention their extra tuition classes, music lessons, sports training, social media, etc. Just because a family is physically within their living room doesn’t mean they are having meaningful interaction. Each one could be looking at their own phones or watching a movie instead of interacting purposefully.
When a family eats together (without distractions) each member sees each other’s faces and can observe the other’s body language. Parents can ask how school is going and what is troubling or encouraging them. They can share experiences, and seize teachable moments from the news. Each can contribute something they learnt from a sermon or a new truth from Bible Study or Sunday School. It should be a time when anyone can talk about absolutely anything. When our children were young we would read the Bible and pray for them before they went to school. Most of the time we didn’t just thank God for the food, we also prayed for other people, situations or needs we knew about.
Interacting around the table in a home is very different from interacting elsewhere. Recently we had guests over for lunch. We held hands around the table to say grace. We each brought food to share. We had a relaxing time of jovial banter, laughter and of course enjoyed the food. Yes some effort was needed to tidy our flat, co-ordinate the food and make sure the cutlery, drinks, etc., were laid out. But at the end of the time together, it was uplifting to know we had shared our lives and enjoyed each other’s company. The effort was worth it because it strengthened relationships within the church family and therefore contributed to strengthening our unity in Christ.
How wonderful it would be if say, every fortnight, one church family/couple at morning and evening service would have a few worshippers over for a simple meal at their home. If each time there were an average of 10 people sharing a meal together, at the end of one year there would be 10 x 2 groups x 26 weeks per year = 520 attendees. If we did it over 2 years, we would have all ORPC worshipers covered. Anyone keen?