The Importance of Meals

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The Mexico national team won in dramatic fashion today, over a strong Croatian team. Final score…3-1. The victory assures Mexico’s participation in the next round of play. They will be facing Holland, the tulip country, this next Sunday.

Perhaps the most colorful personality in a team made up of mostly unknown players is the coach, Miguel Herrera. In Mexico, nearly everyone has nicknames. Miguel’s nickname is “El Piojo,” or “the louse.” He sort of reminds you of the tiny pest as he jumps up and down on the sidelines, and frequently combs his shock of hair with the palms of both of his hands.

In the post-game interview, the coach talked about what the team was going to do after the game. “Sure, we’ll celebrate. We’ll all go and eat together and relish the victory, and think ahead to the next game.” Mexico is a group-oriented culture (as opposed to an individualistic orientation, as the U.S. is). The team, very likely, will do nearly everything together for the duration of the World Cup. Interestingly, he mentioned eating and food on repeated occasions. I suspect that the success of the Mexican selección this year has a lot to do with the camaraderie that they are enjoying as a team.

I’m reading a book that Richard Vaughn recommended to me. It’s entitled A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table, by Tim Chester. When we think of evangelism (whatever that means) or “reaching out,” terrifying visions of knocking on doors or engaging people cold turkey on a park bench may come to mind. But really, simply inviting people to share a meal around our table is one of the most sacred (and effective) activities we can do to express love and friendship to our friends and relatives.

So instead of packing the restaurants after church every Sunday worship service, every now and again try leaving after Sunday school, fire up your gas grill and invite the neighbors over of some T-bone and New York Strip. Or, if you’re in Mexico, some arrachera and chorizo, with nopales and cambray onion.

Consider this quote from the book:

Food matters. Meals matter. Meals are full of significance. “Few acts are more expressive of companionship than the shared meal. . . . Someone with whom we share food is likely to be our friend, or well on the way to becoming one.” The word “companion” comes from the Latin “cum” (“together”) and “panis” (“bread”). (pp. 9-10).

trompo

 

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