What comes to your mind when you hear the words “Sunday Supper”? For me that phrase brings images of my darling Momma and Grandma in their colorful aprons in the kitchen lovingly, preparing a feast that would gather us together as family. The smells that emanated from their kitchens probably originated in Heaven itself. Fried chicken, biscuits, home made macaroni & cheese, a heavenly pot roast or maybe a big pot of spaghetti and meatballs with Momma’s garlic bread. Oh I’m getting hungry!
The “family” consisted of whomever was lucky enough to know the time to show up for that little bit of heaven. Could be the neighbors across the street or the preacher and his family or possibly someone that Daddy worked with or occasionally a young man who’d been hitchhiking that Daddy gave a ride to on his way home from a road job. It was a different time back then. We could help those out that needed a hand with not as much fear. A friend out for a Sunday drive could knock on the door unknowingly and be exuberantly gathered in to share the meal. To eat. To talk. To visit. To share time with. There always seemed to be plenty of chairs and an abundance of leftovers to take for lunches in the coming week, regardless of how many “family members” graced our table.
I had the privilege of traveling to Alabama with a dear friend of mine back in the early 90’s. During part of our trip we stayed with his niece’s “in-laws to be”, Mr. & Mrs. Killough. When we arrived I was immediately enamored with the grace and love that exuded from every fiber of that home and family. We visited until late in the evening, retiring to rooms that were so comfortable and welcoming that I wanted to stay forever. But I knew that wouldn’t be happening. This was Saturday evening and we would be leaving the day after tomorrow. I wondered for a moment about inquiring about being adopted, but with my own sweet family at home, that seemed a little drastic.
When I got up the next morning and popped my head out of the room I’d dreamed sweet dreams in the night before. the scent of bacon cooking, coffee brewing and the sweet sounds of praise music met my senses with amazing impact! We melted into the joy of a meal prepared and presented with the same love and grace we had been welcomed with the previous evening. We ate, quickly cleared away the dishes and went off to church worshiping together as “family”.
Later in the afternoon is when the “magic” happened. Sunday Supper! I can still remember that meal. I can taste it smell it, see it! I’ve even tried to re-create it a few times. My attempt at the dishes were prepared the same way, because Mrs. Killough gave me the recipes. The tastes were similar. The aromas were a close match. It is only recently that I have realized why the Sunday Suppers I have tried to replicate weren’t quite the same.
My Momma, my Grandma & Mrs. Killough all included ingredients that they put in all of their meals that I have not consciously sought to put into my Sunday Suppers. In the hurry, hurry, busy life I’ve come to know as mine, I’ve been neglecting to invite a specific guest and apply a special spice to the “food”. My Sunday Suppers have become functional, but not purposeful. I’ve even begun to dread mealtimes on occasion. My Sunday Suppers need to have more of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Sunday Suppers that remain in my heart and memory from those years ago were less about the casseroles and roasts and desserts and more about the “other food”. The food of fellowship. The food of love and of grace. The food of a shared table and shared lives. Love on purpose.
I want to revive Sunday Supper. Jesus will always be the guest of honor and the Holy Spirit will spice the love that we share through the meal. 2015 is an opportunity for me to recapture a precious tradition from my youth and share that with my kids, grands, neighbors and friends. A time to reach out to some that may not have “family”. Someone who needs to be received with grace and love.
Sunday Supper. It’s more than physical food.
“Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.” Acts 2:46 NAS