It’s owned by a fairly wealthy church member. It’s midweek. It’s dinner. But not just dinner it’s the Agape Feast. It was the meal shared by all in the church.
Think pot luck meal – except the people would be far hungrier. The owner of the house would spring for the kind of food the church members wouldn’t often get to eat.
Everyone would be ushered into the middle of the house, into the courtyard where tables were set.
Arriving early is the local baker with hoards of freshly baked bread. He’s not rich by any means, nor important by anyone’s standards, but he’s important tonight.
You didn’t have a first century feast without Bread.
As the bread is placed around the tables and the wine is being poured, and people are speaking to each other, a spot is cleared for the baker and his family. It’s a seat of honor.
In this gathering there are no Jews or Greeks, males or females, slaves or masters. It’s a meeting of believers. Everyone is equal. But the baker gets to be a little more equal tonight.
He and his family have a smidge more elbow room than the rest. Nobody seems to mind as they bump shoulders, that they have twice as much room.
He feels a little awkward and tells the others to press in around him. “There’s no reason for me to have this much space.”
Those around him just chuckle and pat him on the back. One of the guests shouts, “Will someone tell the King to sit down so we can eat already!”
The place erupts with laughter. The baker’s three daughters giggle, and he really does feel like a king – for the first time in his life.
The owner of the house is pretty well to do. He’s a Roman citizen, a member of the church, and he regularly hosts these meetings. He wears a plain white toga. But it’s cleaner than everyone else. He’s easy to spot.
The crowd continues to trickle in, and soon everyone from the church is there. There aren’t enough spots to sit, and so the crowd overflows to the front room. And some need to stand.
A few people have brought flutes and maybe a tambourine. Music is playing until the owner of the house settles everyone down. He, as master of ceremonies gets to say the blessing.
But instead he turns to the baker and asks him to pronounce the blessing over the food.
The baker hesitates again. But he’s encouraged by the others. His wife beside him is proud. He’s standing a little taller than normal. He looks at his daughters and knows that they are seeing him a little differently than before.
It’s a moment that a man relishes – to be the hero of the story for his family.
His wife whispers to her girls, “Shhhh. Watch daddy, he’s going to speak.”
He clears his throat, and slowly, and with pausing, come his words. He’s not a speaker. He begins the blessing “In the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ…”
I didn’t expect to be this wordy in the storytelling.
But I’m really beginning to enjoy spinning tales.
We need a part two.
But I won’t leave you hanging too much.
I’ll share this with you.
This story is the scene from James chapter 2.
And I’m not sure if I’d want to be the baker.