James K. A. Smith on the importance of the dinner table

By Daniel Darling

I’m reading through James K. A. Smith’s excellent new book, You Are What You LoveI highly recommend this book. Here are some of Smith’s thoughts on the formative power of families eating dinner together:

For example: never underestimate the formative power of the family supper table. This vanishing liturgy is a powerful site of formation. Most of the time it will be hard to keep the cathedral in view, especially when dinner is the primary occasion for sibling bickering. Yet even then, members of your little tribe are learning to love their neighbor. And your children are learning something about the faithful promises of a covenant-keeping Lord in the simple routine of that daily promise of dinner together (132).

Smith continues:

The table at home is an echo of the Lord’s Table; the communion of the saints is given microcosmic expression in the simple discipline of daily dinner together. There is an ongoing dance between the rhythms of gathered worship and the rhythms of our “sent” lives Monday through Saturday (138).

photo credit: Jessie