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Yeshua Explored

Family worship

todayAugust 9, 2021 33

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In Judaism even the everyday act of eating is celebrated with spiritual connotations. The dinner table corresponds to the altar of the Temple. Does that mean we worship food, an accusation often directed at Jewish people? No, because even eating is a sacred act and the dinner table will also function as a place where words of Godly wisdom are exchanged in the conversations that accompany the eating, where Hebrew prayers resound and songs are sung in praise of their God.

And it’s the dinner table that is the central focus. It is where the family assemble for shared meals. It is also where the father imparts his wisdom to the next generation (presumably between mouthfuls):

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

It is where families eat together, pray together, study together, chat together, even confess to each other. The father may have the main responsibility of teaching but the mother’s role is not to be undervalued, she is the glue that holds it together, sadly a ‘divisive’ statement to make in the current era of gender confusion. The mother is the home builder, the nurturer, the architect of the systems required for the efficient running of the household (something I witness first-hand with more admiration than I often admit to!). It is the mother who will light the candles and recite the blessing at Sabbath time and also the other festivals. It used to be traditional for the father to recite the following at the start of Sabbath:

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:10-12)

The dining table is the focus of the festivals and the Sabbath, which is kicked off by the Friday night Shabbat meal. The Passover Seder night has already been mentioned and those who have experienced this, whether as a childhood memory, or as an adapted church celebration, can attest of the ‘dining table experience’. This got me thinking and I produced a small book, entitled the Easter Telling, instructing Christians how to run their own Passover Seder service, with ‘added Jesus’, making it an effective and entertaining tool to explain the death and resurrection of Jesus to a small multi-generational group. But it needn’t stop there. I am in the process of doing the same for Christmas (Birth of Christ), Pentecost (Shavuot) and Harvest time (Succoth/Tabernacles), in essence creating a ‘Seder’ meal experience for each of them. This is very much in the spirit of One New Man, as it brings Gentile Christians into a Jewish model that could benefit all.

A home is where you can be real, where you are you. If we considered our homes in the same way as religious Jews then there would be no room for hypocrisy. We could hardly be “Sunday Christians”, wearing our “Sunday best” and reserving our pious religious face for those Sunday moments, then undoing our belt and resuming our bickering with our spouse in the car on the way home! Instead our home becomes our church and God has His beady big eye on us 24/7. Can we handle that? In a way that’s irrelevant, as God has His beady eye on us anyway, whether in our homes or in our church and whether we like it or not. It’s all a matter of perception really. And if our home is our church, is it “open all hours”, do we welcome the stranger, are our pews available for all? 

This is an extract from the book, Shalom, available for £10 at

What is the significance of the dining table? 

Written by: Rufus Olaniyan

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