Human beings share a common love: food. I’m not referring to our common need of food, but of our common love for food. All of us have certain foods we love. We relate certain foods to certain events, traditions and people. I often associate certain places. When I think of Destin, Florida, I think of Fish Tacos. When I think of Crowder, MS. I think of chicken and dressing. Zimbabwe? Grilled wart hog. Peru? Cow heart and French fries. New York City? Homemade mozzarella sticks. Southaven, MS.? Well, it was Avellino’s Pizza, but there is a new favorite place for me now: Leelavadee. They serve Thai food and it is fantastic. Memphis? Where to begin! Brother Junipers for breakfast, Las Delicias for lunch and Commissary or Rendezvous for dinner….I think. Ask me at another time and I’m likely to change my mind.
Yemen? Grilled lamb and flat bread. (The best place to eat in the entire country is under a tattered blue tarp by the ocean. I can’t remember the name of the place, but I will never forget the address: 15 Yemen Road, Yemen.) When I think of Looxahoma, (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.
Food is wonderful because it is involved in nearly every part of our lives. We celebrate by eating; we welcome people into our lives by eating and inviting them to share a meal with us. We begin new relationships often over meals and drinks. When we are mourning people will bring us meals to express their love and compassion. People display their love and care for others by giving them the best they have of their food and inviting you to participate. What would offend you more: for someone to be critical of the dinner you made or for him or her 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 served to 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 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 certain meal that you would eat every time if you could. For me, its Coleman’s BBQ. I attempt to go there each time I go to Senatobia, my hometown to visit. Forgive me if this blasphemously, but I truly believe the sauce at Coleman’s is the best I have ever had. Better than any you can get in city of Memphis.
In our homes, where are the places that often gather the most and hang around the longest to talk to people? The kitchen and the dining room. Don’t believe me? Have some people over for dinner and see how long that you will sit in your uncomfortable dining room chairs just to sit and talk before you will move into the living room. I’ve noticed that the highlights of conversations with people are while we are at the dinner table. Once you move to a new place to talk, conversations go downward. Unless you have dessert or coffee in the living room, then things pick right back up. Food is always there to make things better.
How glorious is it that God would create people with a need to eat? Much more, how good is God to have not only given us food to eat that will satisfy our hunger but to give us food that is incredibly satisfying to taste? God could have given us corn flakes for all of our meals and that would have been gracious enough. But He provides much more than that. Why did God do this? Because taste conveys the grand enjoyment and satisfaction that is found in God more than any of the senses He has given us. That’s we are called to taste and see that the Lord is good and that his Word is sweeter than honey. Eating is God’s great expression of inviting us to be his people. It is why the ordinance of remembrance is a meal, because eating is something that all cultures share and is a lasting memory throughout all times and generations. God has invited us to not just to eat with him, but also to feast with him in the meal of remembrance. We are feasting in memory of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave up his seat at the table of continual feasting and fellowship with God so that we would have a place at his Father’s table. But thanks be to God that Christ has been raised from the dead and is He makes all things new and complete at his return.
So what do we do until then? We eat. We eat with Jesus at his table, remembering what Jesus has done for us. We eat with others that Jesus has called to the table. After all he is there. It is his body and blood that we are partaking. So let us eat with Jesus. And let us relax and enjoy the meal. This is a meal of celebration! Why so serious? Your sins have been forgiven! Rejoice! Emmanuel has come and has redeemed his people from their sins! And if it’s a celebration, then let us use the best we have to celebrate with, like Jesus did at a wedding feast once. Let’s ditch the stale box crackers and old juice. Use the good stuff. After all, the most honored guest is there for a meal. So enjoy the gift of food. And enjoy a wonderful Host.