The importance of mealtime

Picture this. Forty faces turned upward in worship or bowing in reverence, each lifting a voice to heaven in song as the collective group recites the Doxology.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Praise him all creatures here below

Praise him above ye heavenly host,

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Everyone takes a short breath and slides softly into beautiful, raw harmony at the final “Amen,” lingering on the last note a moment longer to relish the sound of song resounding in the vaulted wooden building. Later, everyone kneels on the ground for a moment of silent confession, or recites liturgical acknowledgments of God’s sovereignty, or prays blessings of peace over their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

This is not a scene from a ritualistic service in some sort of orthodox church or monastery; rather, it’s part of the routine at mealtime of about twenty-five young adults and their mentors. It is the only time when everyone in the community is able to congregate as a whole, rest for a moment, and fill up spiritually and physically before returning to work, studies, or what have you.

Our busy culture makes it difficult for families to sit down together for a meal.

Often this is out of necessity rather than any intentional neglect, but we miss a lot when we skip communal meals very often. Even when we do join together for meals, I think we often forget to refocus and be truly present with those around us. Being at Summit has been refreshing in many ways and having three very specific times every day to decompress and reorient is one of those ways.

Even families who do eat together consistently might not make a joint effort in cleaning up afterward, which I have come to realize makes all the difference between drudgery and enjoyment in our daily tasks. At Summit, we work in groups to clear the tables and wash dishes together. What was formerly my least favorite chore at home has become significantly more tolerable, if not enjoyable. The kitchen crew members learn to become especially quick at their roles, and we play music and dance around while cleaning up.

 The experience of mealtime at Summit has reframed my way of looking at ordinary things in life. It is a reminder to me that everything we do, down to eating and washing dishes, has the opportunity to be enjoyable and a way of glorifying God.

By Mia Lasko: Hailing from Lynchburg, Virginia, Mia is a senior at Liberty University studying psychology and Spanish. In her free time, she likes to sketch, play piano and guitar, and sometimes write. She grew up in the plains of Colorado and moved to Virginia in 2011, and is thrilled to be back in the Colorado mountains for an extended amount of time. Mia has four younger sisters and owns a Doberman Pinscher and a grey cat of an ambiguous breed. She also hates referring to herself in the third person but she didn’t have much choice this time and probably pouted while writing her bio.