Dinner table conversation — Christian ed @ home


dinner meal family eat freeThe dinner table is sometimes the hub for family life.  As we share a meal together, we often debrief about the day, share funny anecdotes and even process difficult national events.  Because we understand the power of sharing fellowship around food, it should come as no wonder that Jesus’ disciples came to accept his resurrection while eating with him.  In this week’s lesson, you and your children will explore the two post-resurrection stories in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus reveals himself to his disciples, and then you’ll plan and hold a family dinner focused on drawing closer to one another.

Begin the time with your children by talking about the sacrament of communion.  Ask your children to describe their experiences of communion.  Then ask them why they think we celebrate communion during worship services.  Share that we participate in communion because Jesus asks us to.  During the final meal with his disciples, Jesus tells his followers that they should share bread and wine (or grape juice) together in remembrance of him.  Through communion, we are reminded of Jesus’ sacrifices, his complete love for us and the nourishment that comes from following him.

Prepare to read aloud Luke 24:13-48.  Note that the lectionary reading for this week spans only verses 36-48.  While you may choose to just focus on the story told through these verses, pairing it with verses 13-35 (the story of Jesus joining his disciples on the road to Emmaus) provides two examples of the disciples connecting with the risen Christ during meals.  Share with your children that the two stories they will hear take place after Jesus’ resurrection.  Jesus has already revealed himself to the women who came to his tomb.  Now he is going to visit with his closest friends, his disciples.

Read aloud the Scripture passage.  After reading, ask your children to describe how each group of disciples in these two stories came to realize that the mysterious man with them was Jesus resurrected.  Note that in the first story (the road to Emmaus), the two disciples have their eyes opened when Jesus blesses and breaks bread during dinner, just as he did during his last meal with them.  Later, the disciples who remained in Jerusalem are able to listen to Jesus’ important message after he eats a piece of fish they offer him.  There is something about sharing a meal together that helps reconnect the disciples with Jesus.  Encourage your children to wonder about why this might be.  What is it about sharing food and fellowship with Jesus that brings them closer to the risen Christ?

After discussing the Scripture, share with your children that people eating a meal together and learning about one another is not something that only Jesus and his disciples can do.  Any group of people can do the same as these biblical figures!  Together with your children, plan a time when your family can share an extended meal time together.  If you’re able to do so safely, you may even want to invite some close friends or family members to join you and gather outside or over Zoom. Make preparations for what you’ll eat as well and what you’ll talk about.  Encourage each family member to prepare a question or a topic for discussion that will allow the group to better understand one another.  Even if everyone at the table knows each other well, try to find ways for each person to reveal something about themself that others may not know.  Try to create a space where everyone will have the opportunity to see the image of God in each person present.

JOELLE BRUMMIT-YALE is the director of children’s and youth ministries at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  When not at the church, she can usually be found at home with her son and husband caring for their many animals and developing their family homestead.