Sharing Hospitality

This week Simon Holt came to the Spiritual Reading group and read aloud from the first chapter of his latest book.

Here’s a teaser… “The quest for meaning, intimacy and community seems ever more urgent.  The table beckons. It beckons because, at its core, the table is about such fundamentally human things as intimacy and family, identity and communication, reconciliation and romance, covenant and community, redemption and friendship, sustenance and celebrations, beginnings and endings. The table beckons because it plays host to so much more than biological necessity.”

We went around the group and shared ideas of table from our family of origin – dinner at my house was often cooked sometime in the afternoon then people ate where they liked, when they liked, what they liked (you could always have toast or 2-minute noodles if you didn’t like what was on the stove) – this was not normative of the group where the table was a place of sharing food and daily life together, there might be rules that you don’t leave the table without saying something you are thankful for/doing a bible reading/everyone is finished…

One idea I found intriguing was the idea of not being allowed to ask for anything – training in mindfulness – the only way to get anything is to be aware of others needs and for them to be aware of yours expressed by a need to care for one another: Would you like any…?  Can I pass you the…?

These days I have next to no regular rhythms of food sharing. We are sharing hospitality but it is irregular… if, as Simon says “eating is a social and political act of profound consequence, one that expresses tangibly our communty identity and citizenship.  And as one of the most routine activities of life – one that marks the rhythm and flow of everyday – eating is embedded at the heart of what it means to be human.”

How can we make who we eat with, what we eat and when, more intentional?