At Brevard Achievement Center (BAC) in Rockledge and Melbourne, Florida, the staff have found an excellent way to communicate and reward the people who are developmentally disabled that they serve.  They take them out to lunch.  Occasionally, Special Gathering staff is asked to join them.  I love being invited to be a part of that time.

I believe that the meal serves as more than a place for your body to be nourished.  Traditional worship found in the Bible centers around the meal.  The Jewish celebrations took place in homes, involved an elaborate meal and family fun.  The Old Testament feast of booths was a seven-day family camping trip which celebrated the fall harvest. 

The Lord’s Supper or communion was instituted by Jesus after he and his disciples had shared a family meal.  Whenever an angel appeared, in the Old Testament, they were offered a meal.  Most of Jesus’ appearances after his resurrection, involved or took place during a meal.

There is a purpose behind this.  Barriers are broken down during meal time.  People bond in a unique way.  Our members also respond in a unique way to sharing a meal together.  During our parties, we decorate and have table cloths and good food.  Our members are extra careful and incredible grateful. 

Each time we have a party during Special Gathering, it centers around food.  I’m sometimes asked by volunteers, “Why do we always have to eat whenever we do anything special?”

My response is usually,  “Have you ever gone to any party where there is no food?” 

Perhaps the most holy time in Christendom–communion–revolves around a meal.  In our churches, we have sanitized communion, packaging the grape juice and pressing the bread.  In the process, I believe we have lost a good portion of the meaning and joy because we have eliminated the meal.  Yet, in ministering to people who are mentally challenged I’ve found that they have the ability to make every occasion festive. 

How have you found that meal times are important to you and your members?  Do you have a certain time that you make sure that you share a meal with your members?  Do you ever have one-on-one meals with your members?