Where does food meet faith?
Last week we looked at our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Today I’d like to expand out to include the community of believers, the Christian church.
Food meets Faith in our churches, the body of Christ.
I don’t mean just the church potlucks, either! Every denomination seems to have its own set of traditions surrounding those. Each congregation knows whom to count on for Jello salad (all the fake ingredients in there are fuel for another blog post…), who will bring the shepherd’s pie, and who makes the best brownies.
Potlucks must be a remnant from the early church. In Acts 2:42-47 a body of believers sold property, combined resources, and shared food communally: “In homes, they broke bread and shared meals with glad and generous hearts.” (The Voice)
Food as a major part of church events seems to go way back. Most of the Jewish festivals in the Old Testament centered around feasting—and if not, around fasting, or abstinence from food. Whether present or not, food was important to the ritual.
A lot of churches operate food pantries for the needy. This is great. I don’t mean to discount it at all. It’s in direct response to James 2:15-16: “If you know someone who doesn’t have any clothes or food, you shouldn’t just say, “I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat.” What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help?”
The body of Christ, the church, should practice hospitality. This goes beyond potlucks (all church people present) and food pantries (us helping them mentality) to inviting assorted people into our homes and sharing food with them. (I have to admit I’m terrible at this. I’m such an introverted homebody!)
In Luke 14:16-24, Jesus tells the parable of the wedding feast. This was intended to be a special event, by invitation only—perhaps a black-tie event. But when the time came, guest after guest refused the summons, citing various excuses. The feast was opened up to people off the street; even those who were crippled and blind were welcomed in.
Yes, this parable has a deeper meaning than simply sharing hospitality with people you wouldn’t normally think to invite. However, it’s a great picture of the invitation the church, as Christ’s body, can provide to our community.
Most churches today practice communion, in which bread and wine represent the body and blood of Jesus. It’s derived from the Last Supper that Jesus ate with his disciples before his crucifixion. He broke the bread and handed it to his apostles. Then he said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Eat this as a way of remembering me!”
As believers, we are the Body of Christ. If Jesus said, “My food is to do what God wants! He is the one who sent me, and I must finish the work that he gave me to do.” about himself, how much more does it refer to his body, the church?
It’s our job, as the body of Christ, to find where food meets faith, and to apply ourselves to it. What can we do that we haven’t been doing, so far?
(Photo used with permission.)