"Community" has become a common by-word in the postmodern church. However, issues of wealth and poverty in the community have often been pushed to the edges of discussion. From the bias of a middle-class Western viewpoint, the idea of communal sharing has fallen by the wayside. Unfortunately, it is often the poor who are left wanting because we no longer come together.
Reta Halteman Finger finds a solution to this modern problem by understanding the ancient Mediterranean culture of community and Christianity. In the earliest Jerusalem church, in holding the responsibility for preparing and serving communal meals, women were given a place of honor. With the table-fellowship and goods sharing of the earliest Jerusalem church, Luke declares, "there was not a needy person among them" (4:34). Finger thoroughly examines this agape-meal tradition, challenging traditional interpretations of the "community of goods" in the Jerusalem church.
With a revolutionary exegesis of the text -- proving that the communal sharing lasted for hundreds of years longer than previously assumed -- "Of Widows and Meals" begins a discussion of need in community that will revolutionize the modern church's interaction with the world around us.