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People of the Table

The four vital rituals of the early church

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On this Mother's Day, it seems very appropriate that we continue to reflect together on what it takes to grow a great family. Whether our family consists of the people in our home, the ones we visit now and then, or a small group of close friends, God gives us in the Bible some powerful principles that, when practiced, can make those circles even more life-giving places.

Great families are always founded first and foremost on the Covenant Principle. They are made up of people committed to being there for one another—to keep showing up for one another—after the example of Jesus Christ himself. Even when his disciples slept on the family job, Christ remained faithful to them, especially at their midnight hour. How do you see such a covenant expressing itself in your family life?

As we explored last week, great families also show that they understand the Body Principle. They see themselves not as a collection of individuals, but as a single unit. They take their own gifts seriously. They value the gifts of others highly. And they all use and unite those gifts for the sake of the common good with a result that is simply incredible.

Alongside of those two investments, great families also understand what I want to call the Table Principle. This is the vision we find in Acts 2:40-47.

The role of rituals

Of all the many things my mother said to me through the years, few still reverberate so significantly in me as that phrase I heard thousands of times: "It's time to come to the table!" The mealtime ritual was very important in our family's life. If we were out playing with our friends, we had better come running. If we were immersed in the cartoon show, the TV had to go off. If we were at our homework, the pencil ...

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