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Coming to the Table

July 22, 2015

If ever I decide to leave the church entirely, I need to be reminded of three things.  1) The fruits of the spirit, in particularly set to songs from the 1980’s kids musical, The Music Machine.  2). The hymns my grandparents loved.  3). Bread and wine.DSC_1781

While I could recite song after song from both The Music Machine and old hymns, it’s the infusion of food into the Christian faith that roots me to Jesus.  Bread and wine.

I wish I had something deep and insightful to say about breaking the bread and pouring the wine, but I can think of countless authors who can say it much more eloquently then I can. Shana Niequist in Bread and Wine:  A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, Sara Miles in Take This Bread, and Rachel Held Evans in Searching for Sunday.

Instead, I think of holy moments in my life, so many of which contained bread and/or wine.  I remember distinctly my first time at family camp.  It was a cold February weekend in which the camp directors learned how to plan for rain.  The last service of the weekend was communion.  We had a wonderful weekend and decided we wanted to do family camp again and again and again.  However, my most vivid memory of the weekend was the food–not only the moving, prayerful communion service at the end, but also the meals which were felt so extravagant.  We felt so loved and ministered to by the meals that were made for us.

Once a month (or what is a goal for once a month but has lately been once a quarter)’ two girlfriends and I go out for dinner.  These meals almost always contain bread and wine, but we do not bless the meal using our church words or eat in remembrance to God.  Instead, those meals are a time of confessing our humanity, with lots of laughter thrown in the deliver grace to each other.  Though we are just three, we are also church to each other.  We order food communally, pass plates around, and share sips of wines from each other’s glasses. We also get to try out restaurants we’ve been wanting to go to that our husbands may not enjoy so much.  It is holy.
It’s the meals I remember about trips.  The large post wedding family brunches that I remember even better than the formal rehearsal dinner.  The sung blessings, in four part harmony that reminds me that food is a part of my Christian faith.

Maybe this all my justification for loving food and being a foodie.  However, food is one thing I have in common with every single human throughout the world.  I need food to survive.  I find ways to season my foods–salt, fresh herbs, fresh vegetables, a splash of lemon or lime, just like everyone else seasons food to add a little extra flavor.

Can I say I am a Christian because of food?  Is that allowed?  Because I am.  Nothing moves me like a shared meal or a well written chapter (or book) about communion.   Food is more than about me.  I don’t remember those meals I’ve eaten all by myself (except for a few really tasty lobster rolls or sunny side up egg sandwiches).  It’s eating with others, sharing stories around a table, laughing, serving one another. Food reminds me how to love my neighbor (casseroles after a baby is born) and that I can’t wait for perfection (extravagant hospitality can also happen in a not magazine worthy house).

And before anyone worries unnecessarily about me, I am not saying that food trumps Jesus’s resurrection, the unfathomable Grace of God, or the mysteries of the Holy Spirit.  Food, the shared meal of bread and wine, is the frequent everyday reminder of the wonders of the Holy Trinity.

Let us lift up our hearts.  We lift them up to the Lord.
Thanks be to God.IMG_2691

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