Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so This Week’s Thoughts is arriving a day early. It’s good to think about gratitude this week and to express gratitude to those we love. It’s also a good week to think about food, let’s be real. I attended a church board meeting over the weekend and those gathered are still getting to know one another. We were given a prompt and asked to share our responses with two others nearby: “What is your favorite food to eat on Thanksgiving? Or what is a favorite family dish? Or what do you love to cook or eat in general?” As we broke off into our groups and discussed, you could feel the energy in the room shift. Soon laughter was heard and the volume increased as we all became animated in sharing family favorites with one another for Thanksgiving and beyond.
Gathering around a table with one another and breaking bread is a sacred act. In the Bible, one of the metaphors for the Kingdom of God is a banquet (Luke 14 and Matthew 22.) In the Gospel of Luke alone, nineteen meals are mentioned. Jesus talks about food all the time, and he gets criticized for eating with the “wrong” people—like prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners. Food is used as a metaphor for life in the Bible, and sharing food with one another means that we are sharing our lives (Mark Allan Powell, Fortress Introduction to the Gospels.)
When we think about sharing food, it’s also not without complications. People have dietary restrictions, food allergies, eating disorders, medical conditions that affect one’s food intake, etc. We know that eating isn’t a simple act for all of us. Though the image of the Kingdom of God as a banquet remains a lovely one to keep in mind on this week of giving thanks especially. Because God’s banquet is one where everyone is invited, everyone is made to feel welcome. I imagine it’s a banquet with gluten-free, vegetarian, and sugar-free options as well as plenty of meaty protein for those carnivores among us. It’s a banquet where the food is delicious, but the company is even better. I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with loved ones, and I remain grateful to be your pastor.
(This Week’s Thoughts 11.21.18)