Eat

"Eat."

It’s a three letter word FILLED to the brim with meaning. From the dawn of time, eating for man has been key to our survival. It is what our life revolves around. Eating and Drinking. Those are two out of the three things that human beings have to do to survive.

Just about every culture that I know of has rituals and traditions concerning the act of eating in community. Meals with people, whether it be around a fire or at a table, are a daily occurrence.

 

The eating place is a place to come and join together. To be nourished. To find sustenance. And to be filled.

 

Buddhist monks practice mindful eating together. Muslims practice fasting and feasting during Ramadan. Jews celebrate the Sabbath around the table with a meal and prayers and songs. And we too as Christians practice communion. A simple meal, but a meal, nonetheless, that takes place around a table.

And yet, eating has become so complicated in our society and culture. The act of eating is, at its core, so simple and pure and...sacred. But we have made it twisted and complicated. Almost every single one of us has a distinct belief or practice or viewpoint or struggle with food and how we eat.  A simple blessing meant to gather all around the table has become a place of worry, division, and judgement.

How did it all happen?  

In his most recent sermon, Pastor Matt reflected on the story of Adam and Eve and the fall of man. He pointed out that sin entered into our story through food. The forbidden fruit...often depicted as an apple. A meal between a wife and her husband. Food eaten in faith, but faith based on a lie.

Just sit with that.

Evil and Sin entered into our world through food. A meal.

So it makes sense that today food is still a place of struggle. Adam’s curse was that he would have to toil in order for the land to bring forth fruit. And man has toiled to feed himself ever since.

We live in a world of feast and famine.  Some living with one food-related problem, obesity, while others fail to subsist because of another, starvation. There are others that fear food and the table; and still others who lift food high above its place. Instagram feeds of artisanal sausages and cheeses juxtaposed with inspirational images & quotes to help those struggling with food issues.

More and more beliefs concerning eating are polarizing us and leaving even the most informed and conscientious folks completely baffled by the word EAT - something that is, fundamentally, a simple human ritual.

 

We eat at a broken table.

 

We broke the table.

 

But our story, as God’s people, as Christ followers, doesn’t end there.

If we think back to Jesus and think on His story, how often do we see talk of food, drink, the table, meals, the procurement of food & drink, the act of feeding others?

The answer is: A whole lot {I’m not very good with numbers}.

Jesus’ first miracle involves a wedding feast and wine! Jesus let food and drink play a role in the revelation of his godhood.

During His ministry He is consistently found having meals with people. He uses the table to gather both sinner and saints to Him. In doing so, He seeks to tear down the divisions of status, politics, and wealth.

He feeds thousands with a few loaves and fishes. The God of the universe sees the daily physical needs, as well as the deep spiritual ones, and He seeks to meet them both.

He meets a woman at a well and asks her for a drink. He seeks relationships with us. He seeks conversation. He seeks time with us. Sometimes that happens over the simplest of things shared - a glass of water.

He tells fishermen where to cast their nets and they haul in a dinner catch larger than they could have imagined. He is able to not only provide, but to provide abundantly.

He spends His last evening before the crucifixion sharing a meal with those closest to him. He uses bread and wine to show us what’s to come.  

One of His first moments after rising from the dead is eating fish on the beach with a few of the same guys. He EATS to prove His humanity to those who might doubt His complete resurrection.  

 

Jesus redeems our table.

 

Jesus’ ministry was, slowly but surely, chipping away at the broken table that we created and replacing it with His perfect one - where He invites us as sons and daughters of God to share a meal with the Son of God.  As equals.

 

He invites us to share in a sacred space. To take, to eat, to drink, to share, to exist and be known fully - at the table. At His table.

 

I know it’s not all that easy. Eating disorders. Hunger. Obesity. Am I supposed to eat gluten? Will Cheetos give me cancer? Are eggs good or bad? What does GMO even mean? I know that I can’t fully scratch the surface. But I can say - Jesus has redeemed the table. For me. For you. For us.

How do you view eating? How do you view the table? Are they your enemy? Your vice? A place of promise or of pain? A place of sin or redemption?

 

 Written by Lydia Wells

Subscribe to Our Blog through Email