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The Scripture Blog

The Gospel of Breaking Bread — Part I

I once heard a preacher say in his sermon that Acts 2:42 was his favorite verse of scripture. Acts 2:42 (NIV) says: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” I had never heard anyone name that verse as a favorite, so I was puzzled, even more so when he said the part of the verse that made it his favorite was “the breaking of bread.”

He said the early practice of breaking bread may have included what is often called the Lord’s Supper or Communion but that it’s primary meaning was having a meal together. After the Day of Pentecost, we are told in Acts 2:44: “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” It would appear, therefore, that “the breaking of bread” occurred every day.

I grew up in a rural community where church and food went together. We had two revivals a year, sometimes lasting two weeks at a time, sometimes having morning and evening services. Yikes! The visiting preacher was regularly fed in the home of a church member on some kind of rotating basis. After an evening service, there was often a gathering at someone’s home, with plenty of food for all who attended. Vacation bible school included snacks.

My favorite food/church memory, however, is “dinner on the ground.” Lunch was called dinner at that time and place, so we had dinner in an area beside or near the church after a special morning worship service. What seemed to be enough food to feed the 5,000 (Mark 6:30-44) was on picnic tables. We placed food on paper plates and sat on the ground to eat it. Seconds, thirds, and much fun and fellowship.

This memory and the preacher’s sermon got me to thinking and reading scripture. More tomorrow.

2 comments… add one
  • Linda Justice October 27, 2015, 3:09 PM

    I remember those days at church, and today it seems as if we can’t wait until the preacher gets thru so we can leave. I miss the fellowship that we used to have at church, dinner on the ground was a favorite time. It seems today that we just go to church to be seen. I rememer walking to church in the summer time, and couldn’t wait until my parents were ready to drive, we wanted to go early, and be the first to get there. All the young people on the road we lived on would walk together and just have the biggest time. What memories and what has happened to this happiness, we don’ t seem to have it today.

    • John B. Phillips October 27, 2015, 4:47 PM

      Thanks very much for your comment, Linda. You’re right. Things have changed a lot since we were growing up. I too lived within walking distance to our church. Unlike you’re experience, however, it seems I remember getting to church just in the nick of time, instead of being the first to arrive. Anyway, church memories of my youth are almost sacred to me. Though things have changed a lot, I still think that having a meal at church promotes fellowship and also increases the number of people attending. While food and church have always gone together for me, focusing on the importance of eating a meal together for early Christians and realizing that Jesus often used meals as an opportunity to teach have made me appreciate even more how church and food are spiritually linked. Again, it’s good to hear from you. Hope you’re doing well.

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