Have you ever had dinner at someone else’s house and thought…What On EARTH?

Whether it’s food or table manners, folks eat differently.

Recently my cousin’s wife thanked me again for coming to their wedding. You see, their wedding was out of state and I had a work engagement I needed to attend. Thankfully the meeting was cancelled last minute due to weather. So I drove up and surprised them the morning of their wedding.

I had known that they were both glad to see me. It was a nice surprise on an already happy day. But there was another reason that my cousin’s wife was glad I was there.

It all went back to a meal…the first meal where she met our family. She was probably about 16 at the time and joined us for our family Christmas. Now, my grandma puts out a pretty fancy spread for Christmas including fancy plates and fine crystal. This was way different than my cousin’s future wife’s Christmas parties. They have rowdy potlucks over paper plates. At our most recent family meal, she explained that she was excited I came to her wedding because she had felt a bit out of place the first time she met us, and I was the first person to make her feel welcome in our family.

I don’t remember this at all. I remember a bubbly and gregarious young lady that was fun to talk with over dinner. Most especially, I remember that when they were about to leave, she went out to the car and my grandma, his mom, and I cornered him and said, “We like her. Don’t let her get away.” Thankfully, he’s a smart boy and we got to keep her.

At that meal, we chose her as family. At another meal, my cousin chose her as his bride. And at our most recent meal, she taught me how important a meal can be in making someone feel welcome.

Meals are where families are created. Perhaps that is why at the heart of Christian communal worship in the Episcopal Church, we eat a symbolic meal. We call it Eucharist or Communion or Mass, but essentially it’s a meal where we’re joined together as family—for better and worse.

A Movable Feast shares meals with the community so we can become family. Wherever you are, whatever you believe, whatever your background, you are loved and wanted unconditionally by a generous and good, fatherly and motherly God.

And if you’re willing to put up with our weirdness, we would love to be your family. But if we’re a bit too weird for you, I hope you’ll still share a meal with us as a member of this one big human family.

What do you say? Let’s eat.