URC Daily Devotion Friday 24th May 2024


Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.  All who believed were together and had all things in common;  they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts,  praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.


I enjoy my food and I also enjoy cooking and sharing it with others. Food is crucial to our life and well-being but it is also more than that. It has a spiritual significance that points us beyond merely eating for nourishment. I believe it has a central part in building communities of Good News. But why is food so important? Because we have a hospitable God. A God who welcomes us to his table and says eat, drink, this meal is on me! (Isa. 55:1-2).

Jesus enjoyed a meal, so much so he was accused of being a glutton and of eating with the wrong kind of people (Mt. 11:19). In our reading today we see the early Church finding its way to being a Good News community and at the heart of this was food. They ate together and although breaking bread probably means sharing Communion it may also simply mean they would eat together and they did so with glad and generous hearts. 

In my ministry I have always felt food brings people together like nothing else and hospitality is essential. For example, I have been involved with Messy Church, Café Church, Alpha courses and Men’s breakfasts. All of which have food as a main feature which draws people to be part of a welcoming space where they might encounter Jesus. There is nothing quite like sharing Jesus stories around a table with teenagers from a tough part of town, eating delicious food prepared by someone from Guinea Bisau and living life together. 

Henri Nouwen said: ‘Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.’[1] Hospitality is building communities of Good News.

[1] Henri J. M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, (London: HarperCollins, 1998)

Hospitable God,
Thank you for welcoming us to dine with you.
We ask that our churches are places of hospitality,
that we will eat together with generous hearts 
and share what we have with others.
May we see a glimpse of your coming Kingdom 
as we make space around our tables
and even be accused of eating with the wrong people
May your Holy Spirit be the ever present guest at our table.

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