Approx 2 hours
For many cultural groups, the meal table is the central place of social gathering and sharing. There are rituals, traditions, and special foods that have significance.
By eating and experiencing a Asian or African meal together you can gain an understanding of the culture of one of the least-reached people groups. You could go to a restaurant or prepare the meal yourself.
- Start the meal with a Benedictine prayer (see below).
- Eat the meal in silence; savour the smells, the tastes and the community around you. Meditate on your response to the great need of many to be nourished by the message of Jesus and the many people who are eating similar food today.
- Introduce some facts and stats about a particular least-reached people group.
The first 1,500 years of church history were characterised by the ancient practice of lectio divina – a way of reading scripture whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. Choose your own scripture passages (or try one of these: Acts 17:16-34; Matt 28:16-20; Luke 9:1-6, Psalm 6; Jonah 1-2; Genesis 12:1-9). Depending on your group this exercise may take 30 minutes to an hour as you eat your meal. You may wish to share with each other at the end of your meal, what God has been saying to you.
- Silencio – invite people to begin their meal in silence, quietly preparing their heart. Come into God’s presence, slow down, relax.
- Lectio – one person is to read the scripture out loud. The passage is to be read slowly. The listeners are encouraged to listen out for a word or phrase that catches their attention. Be open to the word. Don’t analyse it or judge it. Listen and wait.
- Meditation – meditate. Read the scripture a second time out loud. Savour the words. Listen for any invitation that God is extending to you. Reflect on the importance of the words that light up to you. Like Mary who pondered the word in her heart, gently explore the ramifications of God’s invitation.
- Oratio – respond, pray. Read the scripture a third time. Now is the time to enter into personal dialogue, or prayer, with God. Respond truthfully and authentically. What feelings has the text aroused in you? Name where you are challenged or resistant. Become aware of where you feel invited into a deeper way of being with God. Talk to God about these feelings.
- Contemplatio – contemplate, rest and wait in the presence of God and one another. Continue eating and allow some time for the word to sink deeply into your soul. Commit yourself to God. Hold this word close to your heart for the next day, week or little while as you continue to seek God’s presence in your daily choices and routine.