Deuteronomy 14:22–26, Acts 2:36–42
Feasting in the presence of the Lord is a strong theme in all the Jewish feast times. Feasting in God’s presence provides a physical reminder that it is by God’s grace and power that there is something to feast with. It also reminds us that God is God. It keeps us balanced so that we do not think that the feast is because of ourselves or our works.
That something so basic and essential to living (food) is considered a vital part of righteous worship, should help us to not dismiss it. While we may joke about church potlucks, in many respects such gatherings are feasting in the presence of the Lord. While overeating is not good, eating together is.
When the early “church” of Acts eats together, we’re talking about all sorts of people. While they all were Jews (at this point, with some Gentile converts), that doesn’t mean they all got along. There were fishermen, tax collectors, Levites, merchants, soldiers, guardsmen. In other words, there was a cross-section of Jewish society. They made it a practice of breaking bread together. There is a context to this breaking of bread. These people listened to the Apostles’ (we’d say the New Testament) Teaching (sermons and preaching), to fellowship (more than meet and greet at the door), and prayer. It is all four elements together that were practiced.
1) Have you ever made the decision to avoid the sermon or other teachings? How about fellowship? How about breaking bread together? How about prayer?
2) This is not to be a guilt trip, but a time of reflection. Why did you avoid 1 or more of these practices? Is it a regular thing? If so, what can you do to restore this 4-fold practice into your life?
3) In Acts 3:41, Luke notes that about 3000 people were added to the church. Just like today, a place where 3000 people could gather to hear/learn, fellowship, break bread, and pray is pretty hard to find. How do you think the early church did it? How can that inform the practices in your life?