If you were tasked with teaching people to love one another, with spreading peace and harmony around the world, and you had all of the best traditions of faith available for your use and development, then why on earth would you leave weekly family dinner in the dust?
Of all the things you could choose to keep in your quest for unified world communion, weekly special dinner with the people you love most would seem an astonishingly good one. While it’s certainly not impossible to argue over candles, fresh bread, wine and roast chicken, it is a good deal more difficult to feel cantankerous when your belly is full, ears ringing with soft music.
As I read more about food and family dinner in Western culture, I have to wonder if that early man-made construct of the Church didn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, trying to renounce the heavy legalism of the weekly Jewish Sabbath and divorcing the joyous weekly celebration in the process.
What if weekly dinner had been the part they kept, the ordinary rite that everyone could agree on? What if, over centuries, that special weekly dinner became secularized and commercialized, the focus of advertising and marketing around the globe? What if we spent more money in support of a full common table and less on ugly public fights over who owns the keys to Heaven?
In my few quiet, window-staring moments, this is what I can’t help but wonder.