Breaking Bread and Building Bonds

Raised in an Italian family, everything from a simple weekday dinner, illness, or family decision to holiday celebrations centered around food. The comfort in life’s trials and the joy in every celebration, food enriched every aspect of our lives. The connection between breaking bread and building bonds fosters belonging within family and community.

Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.

Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.

We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.

breaking bread and belonging

Growing up, my home hosted new neighbors, baby and wedding showers, cookie bakes for Vietnam War soldiers, neighborhood barbeques, and community holiday gatherings.

pasta served into bowls

Picturing my dining room table apart from breaking bread and building bonds, is impossible. Though barely able to seat six comfortably, it often welcomed a dozen or more people, with every square inch covered in homecooked bliss.

To this day, correlating the sharing of food in any manner with love and belonging brings happiness to every part of my being.

Though each dish often had its own story, our meals shared more than food. Fellowship around the table created a safe place for being ourselves, affirming one another, and nurturing relationship in an unhurried atmosphere.

building bonds

The early church understood the significance of breaking bread and building bonds, having all things common, they met regularly not only for fellowship, teaching, and prayer, but to share a meal. (Acts 2:42-47)

They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 

Acts 2:46

But even before the early church observed their custom of breaking bread together, Jesus often taught His disciples around the table.

A common middle eastern custom, when on the mission field, we often experienced the beauty of breaking bread and building bonds. There is an intimacy present in the humble sharing of a meal, which fosters vulnerability and natural relationship building.

jesus breaking bread

Through the breaking of bread at the Last Supper, Jesus taught His disciples the principles of communion, leaving them a beautiful ritual of fellowship and reconciliation, both with one another and God.

After His death, in His first appearance to a group of His disciples on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias, Jesus kindly prepares them breakfast. There, amid the sea air and crackling fire, broken bread once again built a bond of love. (John 21:12-13)

Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

John 21:12-13

share the memory of broken bread

While many will be gathering with friends and family for Thanksgiving this week, perhaps you may be hosting or gathering with someone you have never met or barely know.

Why not make or bring your favorite “belonging dish”? A dish rooted in times of belonging among family or friends full of precious memories of connection and relationship.

But with the dish, share the story.

pumpkin roll on white wooden table

Allow vulnerability and authenticity to be the invitation to enlarge your circle, through the breaking of bread together. Even if you spend the holiday with family or close friends, share your favorite dish and its story!

Such memories never grow old and strengthen the bonds of love with each retelling.

breaking bread and building bonds

Some of my fondest memories of belonging surface around sharing a meal or gifting a meal to someone. Consider neighbors, colleagues, or others you encounter on a regular basis who seem just on the fringe.

Look for an opportunity to either invite them for a meal or share your favorite belonging dish or food gift with them. Determine to remain present with them and share the story of your dish!

Most of my favorite belonging dishes come from my grandmothers, and they all have a unique story to tell. So many of my current relationships started with a gift of food and lingering over the story behind it.

As Thanksgiving kicks off a season of giving through the end of the year, how can you give the gift of belonging through breaking bread and building bonds?

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