I stumbled upon Kendall Vanderslice's We Will Feast: Rethinking Dinner, Worship, and the Community of God through twitter recently, which proves that good things do happen on social media. ;) Released in May of this year, We Will Feast explores the practice of eating together as an act of Christian worship while featuring church communities, often referred to as "Table Churches", that are a part of the dinner-church movement.
I found this book enlightening, fascinating, and enriching. It has opened my eyes to a new way to experience worship. I am a member of a small, country Baptist church that puts on Fellowship meals regularly for the congregation (guests are also very welcome), but we've never combined worship AND sharing a meal. It has always been worship first, then share a meal together after. Don't get me wrong, I love my church, I love our services, and I love engaging in fellowship during the meal. I just found the act of worshiping WHILE eating super intriguing.
In We Will Feast Vanderslice explains, "The narrative arc of the gospel — from creation and its fall, to Christ's death and resurrection, to the building anticipation of a restored earth—is grounded in the act of eating. Meals end in death and meals offer new life." She continues to explore worship through meals, using biblical examples, the greatest one being Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus often used meals and the act of sharing food with people as a way to reach them, to teach them, and to worship with them.
Most of us have read the Bible, so we know that Jesus did this, but reading this in Vanderslice's words and the way she presents the information, it hit me differently this time. It stuck with me. I've never thought about sharing meals in this way before. The author features roughly 10 groups/churches, their backstories, and how their methods of worshiping using food. I love the intentionality of these groups and churches to create an atmosphere of community, fellowship, and belonging over a meal. They bring together people of different races, economic status, orientations, and creeds, who most likely wouldn't have become friends had it not been for the sharing of these special meals.
I found that chapters one, two, five, six, and ten really spoke to me and enriched me in one way or another. If you flip through my copy of the book, you'll find underlines, stars, and notes in those chapters, but make no mistake, the whole book is a treasure. We Will Feast is the first book I've read this year that truly moved me and opened my mind in a profound way. No doubt it'll make my end of the year list!
All to say, I'd highly recommend this book. I'll definitely be buying copies to give out as gifts this year. ;)
I give it a 9/10.
Liz Austin. Bibliophile. Writer. Book hoarder. I would rather be reading....