As I continue to dig deep into the Word of my Father, I notice a resounding theme. Food. My favorite thing on this whole earth! You see, I think Gary Chapman got it wrong. He missed number 6…my love language is food. Hands down. Speak to me over good food, and I will listen harder. Feed me French Silk Pie and I will be your best friend. Teach me to cook BAKED BACON, and I will show you true love! I was raised on the best food from the best cooks in my realm of imagination. My grandmother, my mom, my aunts…no meat or vegetable went un- fried, no bag of sugar went unscathed. From Chicken Fried Steak to homemade taffy, I was raised on the best (and probably unhealthiest) of God’s garden-gift. Translated into real life?…Joy, Celebration, Thanksgiving, Fellowship…what each and every family get-together was about. Even now, my favorite place to be is in my kitchen making something “divine” to feed my family and friends. My gift to them.
My friends, food isn’t just fuel, or physical sustenance; it is a gift. In the beginning, God gave us a garden in which to feast. He provided everything for us, and still does. He lavishly gives us everything we need to sustain life on this earth, AND in life eternal. And FOR this, Jesus gave thanks. While on this earth, at every meal, he gave thanks; because the meal was given by the Holy One, as throughout all lifetime, as a gift to His loved ones. When Jesus gave thanks and broke bread, he was thanking his Father for the gift he had just received.
So it’s no wonder Jesus came eating and drinking (Luke 7:34) while seeking and saving the lost! Although all 4 gospels tell of Jesus feeding 4- and 5000 people with a miraculously small amount of fish and bread, I have a gut feeling (pun intended) that Luke wrote the most about Jesus’ gastronomical events because he was a physician. He understood more than the others just what these meals did for Jesus and his followers, both physically and spiritually. And, although Jesus rejoiced with a wedding party in John chapter 2, he dined with a plethora of sinners in Luke. He endured some awkward meals with Pharisees in Luke 11 and Luke 14. He dined with Zacchaeus, who was deemed a crooked tax collector, in Luke 19. He celebrated the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Tabernacles, the Passover, and countless other celebrations of joy and thanksgiving in his short lifetime.
Through the ages, God has had a way of showing up at our dinner table. He gives us a sneak- preview of the banquet in the Kingdom to come. As the old hymn alludes, a “foretaste of Glory Divine”. Food will be a part of the new Creation, the fabulous feast, the Table of Communion! The closest we can get to dining with the King here on this earth. The Celts called it “thin places”: where the veil that separates heaven and earth seems exceedingly thin. It is at this table of the King, divine dining, fabulous feast, where broken sinners find an empty seat, a place to be at home, to be made whole by good food and good fellowship. Christine Pohl, a writer and theologian, once said, “a shared meal is the activity most closely tied to the reality of God’s kingdom, just as it is the most basic expression of hospitality”.
Jesus did so much between tasty morsels of fish and bread and honey and wine. Our holy hospitable host revealed the beauty of his life (and death) while dining with those who both adored him and hated him. Our beloved Savior ate and drank with sinners. Yes; thieves, liars, murderers – sinners. That’s me and you. The meals that Jesus shared were the theme to his mission, because they embody God’s grace and put into action God’s mission. Meals were a sign of the Lord’s abounding grace toward us sinners. The table in which he shared his last supper was transformed into the Table of Communion between the Father and His lowly lovers. Sharing a meal means friendship, hospitality, grace. Our God wants us to do the same: open our homes to fellow sinners: the helpless, the needy, the poor, the HUNGRY, the unclean, the hurting. Sharing a meal wipes those “titles” away. We are one and the same when we partake together of the Lord’s bountiful blessings. In this world of little grace, let us share our table; let’s show grace, give grace, say grace. O, dear friend, taste and see that the Lord is GOOD!
-written by Ann Dugger