Human beings share a common love: food. I’m not referring to our common need of food, but of our common love for food. We relate certain foods to events, traditions, and people. When I think of Destin, Florida, I think of fish tacos. When I think of Crowder, Mississippi, I think of chicken and dressing. When I recall a trip to Zimbabwe, I think of grilled wart hog, a trip to Peru with cow heart and french fries, New York City with homemade mozzarella sticks, and Yemen with grilled lamb and flat bread. When I think of Tate County, (the community I was raised in), I think of spaghetti, Saturday morning breakfast, chicken parmesan, chili, potato salad, fried turkey and Christmas dinner.
Most people have a soundtrack for their lives, I have a menu for mine. We all love food because of its involvement in nearly every part of our lives. We celebrate by eating, we welcome people into our lives by inviting them to share a meal with us. We begin new relationships often over meals and drinks. When grieving and mourning, friends will bring meals to express their love and compassion. People display love and care by giving their friends and family the best they have of their food and inviting others to participate. What would offend you more: for someone to be critical of the dinner you made, or for them to not like the movie you invited them to come over and watch?
It is not by accident that Jesus said to eat what is set before you when you come to a new place. When we have been away from home for a long time, what do we want to do when we finally arrive back home? We want to go to certain places to eat and drink. It doesn’t feel like home until you have had that one certain meal. For me, it’s Coleman’s BBQ in Senatobia, Mississippi, my hometown. In our homes, where are the places we often gather the most and remain the longest to talk to others? Often, it’s the kitchen and the dining room. When we have guests over for a meal, we end up sitting most of the time at our kitchen table, even though our much more comfortable couches and chairs are seven feet away.
We do this because the kitchen table is more than a place to eat, it’s a place of fellowship. Food and the need for food is one of the Lord’s great acts of wisdom and gifts of grace. How kind of God to not only give us food to eat that will satisfy our hunger, but to give us food that is enjoyable and satisfying to taste? He could have given us corn flakes for all of our meals and that would have been gracious enough. But He provides much more.
Why does He do this? Because taste conveys the grand enjoyment and satisfaction that is found in the Lord seemingly more than any of the other senses He has given us. This is why the Psalmist writes that we are to “taste and see that the Lord is good” and that His Word is “sweeter than honey.” Food and eating are more than fuel for living, they are designed to be a daily reminder of God’s love for us and His invitation to sit at His table as His beloved children.
It is right then to say that in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, God has invited us to eat with Him, and also to feast with Him. Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ gave up His seat at the table of continual feasting and fellowship with the Father so that we would have a place at His Father’s table. And then He gloriously rose again three days later to receive His rightful place at the head of the table. This is no mere meal. It is a feast and bounty of grace and glory, yet one that will not compare to the glory of sitting with Him and all of God’s people for the Supper of the Lamb. So until then, let us not forget to eat. Gather with other brothers and sisters in Christ to eat with Jesus at His table each week. Let the realities of the Lord’s Supper set the tone for all the meals and conversations around your table. Gather with your family around the kitchen table, and may it be a time of rest and joy. Have a thankful heart for what is before you and remember that all our meals are a gift of grace from a loving Father. Invite some friends over at times and bless them with some of your blessings. Serve your family and guests with love and care as the Host of the Lord’s Supper would serve, love and care for you.
Grace and peace to you and to all at your table.