#LetUsLunch! – Promoting a Life of Unity
By Pastor Selby Khumalo
“feasts of charity”, AKJV; “love-feasts”, RSV, NEB – (Jude 1:12)
“…they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart” – (Acts 2:46) ASV
“…They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude” – (HCSB)
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
This year on 5 April 2023, we would like to mark our Church Unity’s 27th-anniversary milestone, with a unique and exciting initiative. We are launching a Campaign named: #LetUsLunch – with the aim of it becoming an annual church-wide initiative. The Campaign encourages our AFM Assemblies to identify one Sunday (anytime during the year) where members can participate in the #LetUsLunch initiative.
The idea is to see the members of an Assembly bringing their favourite food to church or any preferred place and enjoying and sharing lunch with another family or individuals they do not know personally or that well.
The #LetUsLunch initiative reflects the Church’s desire to actively promote a life of unity and durable fellowship.
LOVE FEAST OR AGAPE FEAST
A love feast or agape feast was a fellowship meal eaten by Christians in the early Church. There is biblical evidence for the practice of these communal meals, during which Christians gathered not just for the sake of sustenance and socialising, but for the sake of fellowship (Acts 2:46–47; 1 Corinthians 11:17–34).
The term love feast appears in the Bible in the book of Jude; (Jude 1:12).
Acts 2:46 says that there was “gladness and simplicity of heart”; they enjoyed their food all the more by enjoying it together. The sight of a friend’s face, and the sound of their voice while they eat, are as good gifts of God as food.
COMMUNAL OR SOCIAL EATING/MEAL
“Laughter is brightest in the place where food is.”
Socialising with food involved has more pros than cons, including:
- Instilling a sense of comfort,
- Helping to get out of a comfort zone and trying new things,
- Encouraging a sense of belonging because of common food interests,
- Allowing engagement while eating,
- Providing a bonding experience, and
- Improving emotional wellbeing
Researchers from the University of Oxford recently found a correlation between how often people eat with others and their life satisfaction. Their results suggest that the more often one eats with others, the more likely they are to feel satisfied and happy with their lives. Socialising is important for one’s physical and mental well-being, and social eating plays an important role in bonding with others.
Professor Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford’s Experimental Psychology Department, said: ‘This study suggests that social eating has an important role in the facilitation of social bonding.’
Food brings people from different cultures together, too. It’s a fantastic vehicle for learning about people with diverse backgrounds; eating with others can create memories that last a lifetime.
LET US LUNCH BENEFITS
The Let Us Lunch initiative will enhance the formation and fostering of that brotherly spirit of Christian love and unity. It should energise and exemplify the spiritual unity as a glue that holds us together, the community created by the Holy Spirit.
We are expected to consolidate significant initiatives to promote the deepening of unity, belonging, inclusiveness, integration, cohesiveness and fellowship. Churches exist amid other social structures—like ethnic groups, nations, local neighbourhoods, or global migratory movements.
Strategic management of societal and cultural diversity and cross-cultural communication initiatives are critical in providing satisfactory harmony and understanding in the Church context.
We are called to exemplify practically and intentionally the #LetUsLunch initiative. Our way forward is to provide and promote more opportunities for profound unity initiatives and togetherness of purpose.