Toward a Theology of Coffee Hour
“Then they told what had happened on the road, and how Jesus had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” —Luke 24-35
I was standing by the food table after church with Nathan, a 13 year-old confirmand. He clutched a cupcake in one fist and one of those crustless triangular sandwiches in the other. He said, quite audibly, but to no one in particular, “I don’t know if I believe in God, but I believe in coffee hour!”
It’s a good place to start, for sharing food is the most tangible symbol of community. Wherever Jesus turned up there always seemed to be a meal: beside a lake, in people’s homes, in public places with sinners, and in an upper room the night before he died.
The thing that strikes me most about Luke’s account of the risen Jesus with those two men on the road to Emmaus is that, even after he pretty much told them who he was, they still didn’t get it. Finally, they invited him to share a meal with them and, when he broke the bread, they knew him.
Coffee hour is more than cupcakes and sandwiches. It’s about hospitality and fellowship and the grace that sharing food makes real. It reminds us that too many go without the food they need, it invites us to widen our circle of sharing, and it points us to the one called “the bread of life.”
Lord Jesus, be among us at every table, for those who look to you for bread will find their souls are daily fed.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and author of A Course In Basic Christianity and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross: Reflections on the Atonement. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.