In this chapter, entitled "Exiles At The Table", Michael Frost talks about hospitality in the community of exiles. …
Our society is marked by an appalling obesity epidemic. Increasingly, food is becoming just another opportunity for self-indulgence in our consumerist society rather than the occasion for sacred community intended by God.
Frost looks at the examples of Joseph, Daniel and Paul to bring out different things about eating in a foreign empire.
Joseph teaches us to fashion an empire that is concerned with the fair and wise distribution of food; Daniel reminds us to eat in such a way as to be healthy and vital as we possibly can so that our lifestyles will glorify God; Paul instructs us to be responsible in our freedom and share food with those who don't know our Lord and Saviour. In effect, what all three have in common is that they see food and eating as missional activities that enact some change in the host empire in which they find themselves.
He goes on to point out that true exiles have freed themselves form the hyperactivity of church life in order to share their tables with their neighbours. This is exactly the reason, by the way, why at New Life we have minimised all meetings down to basically Sunday celebrations and cell groups- there are other meetings, but again compared with the vast majority of churches these are minimal.
Examples of the "ferocious power of hospitality" abound in Scripture and in life. Abraham met with strangers and offered them lunch- it turned out they were angels in disguise. Two disciples walking to Emmaus invite a stranger to break bread with them only to find He is the risen Lord.
When was the last time you shared a meal of hospitality with other believers? With unbelievers?
The practice of true hospitality is something which builds community, becomes an occasion for sacred encounters and critiques the self-indulgence of the fast-food culture.