This meant that I really enjoyed reading it. A few years ago, when I was choosing what I wanted to do next in life, my mum said to me, "I know exactly what you want in the future." Thinking that this was impossible and she'd get it completely wrong I asked to tell me what it is. She said, "you want a house where you'll have people over all the time and you'll share it with other people." As always, mums know best and she got it completely right. She knew how much hospitality meant to me.
Tim Chester discusses how a dinner table can be a way to show God's love, plan for salvation and hope. It shows an interesting picture of Jesus as a man who came eating and drinking. He points to various meals in the Bible: those that Jesus shared with others and the Messianic banquet that we are to expect after we die. By sharing our table with others, we are enacting these meals. Moreover, the way Jesus tells us to remember what he did for us is not through the recitation of liturgy or the singing of a certain song; it's through the sharing of food and drink. This act of communion is a way that followers of Jesus can join with one another to express and remember their love of Jesus and their salvation.
I loved some of the stories and anecdotes. I'm always encouraged and moved by what other Christians have experienced and how they have seen God at work.
The book, however, can get a tiny bit repetitive. Chester works through many different and subtle ways of viewing the table as an expression of God's mission and plan, but the nuances can sometimes get lost and it often feels like you've read that bit before. However, it does bring home how important the simple act of eating with someone else can be.
That's probably why, when Paul lists the attributes of a church leader, it's not a Theology degree or extensive experience in business management he looks for but a person of good character that shows hospitality to others (for the full list, see here). Inviting someone to your table is inviting someone to see a snapshot of God's kingdom.