Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?

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Dean Schultz, November 27, 2016

Have you met the Regan family?  While channel surfing a few years ago I came across a television show called Bluebloods that tells the story of the Regan’s, an Irish Roman Catholic family who are committed to keeping law and order in New York City.

The brawny mustached actor Tom Selleck, plays the role of Frank Regan who serves as the city’s police commissioner (a position his father Henry held before him) has three children and three grandchildren.

Daughter Erin, a single mother who serves as a New York Assistant District Attorney, has a precocious teenage daughter named Nicky, who is also considering a career in law enforcement.

Then there is Frank’s feisty son Detective Danny Regan who you do not want to mess with! Danny and his wife Linda have two sons named Jack and Sean.

The youngest son Jamie, a graduate of Harvard Law School has opted out as a lawyer to serve as policemen.

Then there was Joe, the oldest son, who was killed in the line of duty as a police officer.  Frequent references are also made about Mary, Frank’s wife, who died from cancer.

Bluebloods helps to make the crimes being committed on the streets of New York come alive for viewers.  The show especially got my attention since our daughter, Ashley, lives in Manhattan.  I’m wondering if the show has given me some form of subliminal encouragement that she is safe with the Regan’s keeping law and order in the city!

Seriously, the highlight of the series for me has been seeing the family’s unwavering commitment to come together around the Sunday dinner table following Mass (it’s assumed that most attend, though I’m not sure about Danny who may skip Mass, from time to time and simply show up for Sunday dinner).  No matter how many battles are being fought on the streets, the Regan’s make it a priority to connect with one another around the Sunday dinner table to share what’s going on in each of their lives – the good, the bad and the ugly!  They challenge, correct and encourage one another.

Though some of the shows catch the family dinner in progress, some show them just sitting down to dinner.  Someone is called upon to say “Grace”.  After saying “Amen” each family member makes the sign of the cross before beginning to eat their meal.  Whether you are a Christian or spiritual seeker, your heart cannot help but to be touched by this transgenerational gathering.

After nearly 40 years of ministry I’ve made two observations that I believe are vital for building a vibrant Christian community.  The first is for individuals, couples and families to be committed to the priority of gathering as the Church on Sunday (the Lord’s Day) to worship the Holy Trinity through Word and Sacrament.   The second is the importance of sharing meals around the family dinner table whenever possible.  These activities provide a way for us to assemble in response to the exhortation of Hebrews 10: 23-25;

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

May we as Church of the Holy Spirit experience God’s richest blessings as we “forsake not the assembling of ourselves together” around the Table of the Lord and our dinner tables at home!