I am grateful for our brothers David Brown and Paul Martin for reprinting a paragraph from James Taylor Sr.’s ministry about meeting and breaking bread at home. It was printed in the light of meeting rooms and churches being closed due to the Covid 19 pandemic, and the restrictions that we are all under. Many households are breaking bread together at home.
Should not breaking bread in the home should be normal, not exceptional. At the outset we are told ‘And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved’ (Acts 2:46-47).
In Rome there was clearly a gathering in the home of Aquila and Priscilla. It would also sound like there was in the homes of Aristobulus, Narcissus, Asyncritus, Phlegon, Philologus and others. They would not have been independent of one another, but doubtless served the Lord in worship, prayer and the study of the word. And I think the occasions would have been simpler. Like we are seeing at the moment. May this simplicity continue!
I ruminate: Tomorrow, Lords Day, my wife and I will break bread together in our home in Strood, Kent. We normally break bread in a very small gathering a sister’s house in nearby Gillingham. We are not allowed to visit her due to current restrictions. How many other households in our town will gather and simply remember the Lord at home, breaking bread – and offering up thankful praise and worship to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? I know a few – there will surely be others. What’s more some will normally gather in one place – home, church or chapel; others gather elsewhere – sadly due to the division amongst Christians, of which I have had part. But the Lord will be present in them all – it is His promise: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Matthew 18:20). Does the Lord recognise the division? Is the body divided?
The Lord brought in a Paul. The saints at Damascus were not prepared for such an one; Ananias was not; the Lord prepared him afterwards, but he was not prepared at first. Are we prepared to be small enough and to retain our smallness in order to avoid inflation by any circumstances? You see, beloved brethren, how easily we may be taken unawares if we are not prepared.
At Pentecost Peter stood up and preached, and there were three thousand souls added that day. Is there the least suggestion that the hundred and twenty had no accommodation for them? No indeed, there was preparation, for the Lord had foreseen it. No doubt Peter knew that the Holy Spirit come down from heaven meant much. The Lord chose Peter and John, He had fitted them for such a service, and He put them forward, and so the three thousand are added. You say, Where did they meet, for there could be no hall in Jerusalem large enough to hold them, but the Holy Spirit says they broke bread in the houses; the Lord had been working in the saints’ houses during His ministry and had prepared them. Such a service as the Lord’s in Peter’s house, as He stood over his wife’s mother, is needed in our houses; He touched her, and the fever left her, and she arose and ministered to them. He rebuked the fever, and it left her, and she served them, not only Him. When those three thousand were brought in there was great need of such service, indeed, all would be taxed in service. Doubtless there were many houses where Jesus had worked and they would be ready for the breaking of bread. If they broke bread in their houses, their houses must have been available, and they were all in it, wives and daughters would be ready. The breaking of bread is a family thought, and so they broke bread in the houses.
Reprinted in “Notes of Ministry” No 570 May 2020.