Editor's note: "The Spoken Word" is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast.
We live in a time of great division. Advances in technology have, in many ways, made our world smaller, but instead of coming together, we seem at times to be growing farther apart. Many of us wish for a way to bridge the cultural divides around us. We see people of other faiths or other nationalities, and we wonder how we might befriend those who seem so different from us.
There is a tried and true formula that has worked for centuries. It's rather simple, yet it works. When we want to connect with others, we can invite them to eat with us. There is great power in the simple act of breaking bread together — it forms friendships and relationships that often do not happen any other way.
Perhaps it's because eating is a basic activity for all mankind. When we share a meal together, we set aside everything but our collective need for nourishment. Even when our food preferences differ, we are reminded that we all depend on the bounties of the same earth to sustain life. We enjoy a moment of rest, a time of mutual enjoyment. We slow down, we listen, we find common ground. That's also why family meals are so vital to family unity.
One family decided that every Sunday evening they would invite a friend or neighbor to eat with them. Sometimes they prepared a full meal. On busier days, they shared a simple dessert. It began as a way to get to know people in the neighborhood but soon became a cherished tradition that yielded lasting friendships.
Do you know anyone who feels isolated or even mistreated? Perhaps inviting them to eat with you could make a difference. The meal need not be elaborate or expensive; a simple snack or refreshment can be offered with the same generous feelings and closeness that would come with a great feast.
The idea is to sit together to chat and share a nourishing moment. You will find that, as human beings, we are much more alike than we are different. By spending time with people from other walks of life, our own lives become richer, our understanding deeper. We connect, we learn and we teach.
It's a small gesture, but it has great power to unify. When we open our hearth and home, we break more than bread; we break down walls, and we break new ground.