We're always so quick to point out the differences aren't we? America is big, Croatia small. Europe is old, America new. The list could go on and on.
But when my friend Laci and his family came to visit the other day he pointed out one of the similarities between the two cultures:
Laci is Hungarian and I am American. But the process of preparing the grill, cooking the meat, and enjoying a conversation while doing so is not so foreign to either of us - even in a country neither one of us grew up in - Croatia.
In fact, the table often seems to be a symbol of unity, a place where relationships grow. Go back to Jesus and Zacchaeus. The fact that Jesus wanted to have lunch in the tax collector's house was unheard of. But it was there, at Zacchaeus's table, where repentance took place and a life was changed.
I lost the importance of a shared meal during college. But since we've moved to Croatia and had kids, I've begun to get back to a value I grew up with - eating and enjoying a meal together with family (and often) friends.
In a place where there are lots of differences, the dinner table is often the place where we find common ground. Who are you sharing your next meal with?