Forks in our left hand, knives in our right. The occasional scrape of metal to the plate is overridden by the chatter and chewing. Diminishing food parallels the filling stomachs. Hearts are happy. Bellies full.
I recently heard a sermon on fellowship, and the distinction behind the meaning. It was compared to the relationship families have when getting together after a long period of time. Stories are shared, there may be laughter or tears – sometimes both - and food is often a main component. It is a time of listening and a time for showing love to the ones we care about most. As brothers and sisters of Christ, our time of fellowship is a time of family members coming together, to share, to listen, and to break bread.
Staying in a hostel in the middle of nowhere Wales, I don’t know the name of the person sitting to my right, but by the end of dinner I will know that he lives in London, tutors adult students in English, used to live in Bermuda running a luxury resort, and has a sister that graduated from Wittenberg University. The woman diagonal to me lives in Slovakia, has a daughter that waitressed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, visits Canada regularly, and thoroughly enjoys British custard. We’ve all traveled from different places, carry different stories and experiences, and we will part again soon.
But for tonight, our paths have crossed. And as storytellers, aren’t we all just looking for someone to listen? Sitting around a full table where each individual does not know the other creates a unique and vulnerable situation. But I can only smile as my heart now understands the beauty of fellowship and the creation of old family members reuniting, if only for a meal.