As we near the end of 2021 and celebrate the arrival of Emmanuel by feasting with loved ones, I am reminded of the many kinds of people that Jesus shared food with. The following excerpt, originally printed in "A Table For All: A Toolkit for Christian Community Meals in a Framework of Food Justice," poignantly reflects on the shared good that comes from feasting together, especially with strangers.
Throughout the gospels, we find scene after scene of Jesus sharing food. Usually, it is with the unlikeliest people. From the powerful and the affluent to the homeless and struggling; from intimate meals with friends to spontaneous picnics with crowds of thousands, Jesus is there to commune. As Jesus criss-crosses the land with his good news of God’s upside-down kingdom, it is no wonder he shares stories and images of lavish parties and abundant banquets to describe God’s desire for the world. Jesus connects with us through common experiences we thought we understood, given a new depth and meaning. Peace and flourishing in God’s kingdom is like a banquet. Jesus is the host, and we are all guests.
Food provides far more than we might give it credit for. When we come together to
share a nourishing meal, the barriers between us begin to dissolve. Conversation may start with comments on the food, the place, or the weather, and then take us to places more meaningful. Somehow sharing food engages needs deeper than nutrition and sustenance—to agency, beauty, compassion, joy, meaning, and hope.
Sharing food with others allows us to experience mutuality and friendship, which leads in turn to the fostering of personal and community resilience. Food connects people in ways that transcend cultures, generations, and socio-economic divides. Healthy food habits cultivate essential attitudes of abundance and open-handedness as we tend to God’s good creation and to one another.
Jesus’ wide assortment of dining practices, meals, and dining companions offer a
compelling alternative image for the modern world.
As you feast this Christmas season, may you remember people in our neighbourhoods who are without homes, without loved ones, and without meals. And may you consider giving generously to support the ministries of Oasis Cafe and Kits Cares Cafe. To give, please go to www.tenth.ca/give.