Eating together as a family
Recently I’ve been thinking about food. Not just Hot Cross Buns and chocolate bunnies, but specifically the connection between food and how God relates to His people. Food, faith and being in God’s family.
I got thinking about it because I was writing a guest post for Sophie’s delicious blog, Real Foodie Family. She writes recipes and resources for “moms who value clean eating, real life, and no food-shaming” – seriously lovely and inspiring family food 🙂 I wrote a post about eating together as a family and why it’s a precious thing.
Most of us intuitively feel it’s an important thing to do, and we try to begin and end the day with eating together as a family. It’s a bit like family glue.
But why? Why the relational impact of sharing gravy and applesauce? I think it’s something to do with how we’ve been made by our Creator. God made us to eat, and He made us to eat with Him. Eating together is “a heavenly thing to do. Just like many other wonderful aspects of being human, it’s a reflection of an even greater God-ly thing to do”.
Food, faith and being in God’s family – some thoughts
So, I’m making a list of places in the Bible featuring food and faith. It’s a work in progress, but here’s where I’ve got to:
Obviously we have to start in the Garden of Eden, before we even get to the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve were given an abundance to eat. Food was interesting and plentiful. “I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Genesis 1:29
There’s nothing stingy about the Lord. I find this heartwarming: we were created to enjoy eating, and the Creator gave generous helpings. I hope this overflows into my own catering! Food is good; eating is good; providing food for others is good.
The first Passover meal, so infused with meaning that a few lines won’t do it justice. But it involves a meal and enough meat for everyone in the household to be included – “a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.”
A sacrifice and a substitute sufficient for all who will take and eat it.
Manna in the desert and Elijah and the ravens: two crystal clear examples of God providing food for His people. Psalm 23 contains a remarkable image of the Lord providing food for David: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Isn’t that breathtaking? That the Creator of the world prepares the table for His creature.
In the Gospels, we hear about Jesus sharing several meals with people. The one that I love the most is Jesus and Zacchaeus. Maybe it’s because of the old Sunday School song, but it warms my heart to think of Zacchaeus the sinner high up in the tree, just so he can see Jesus, and Jesus stopping, looking up and saying, “Zacchaeus! I must come to your house! We’ll eat together, you and me, and by the end of the meal, you will have repented and determined to give away half your money to those who don’t have enough to eat.”
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”” He is the manna in the desert; He is the Passover Lamb. God Himself provides food for His people; God Himself provides salvation for His people. It’s all from Him.
In the light of the fellowship of eating together, Judas’s betrayal of Jesus stings all the more. One who dipped his bread in the dish with Jesus at the Last Supper. Jesus’ body is about to be broken in sacrifice; His blood is soon to be poured out for His people.
This Easter, our pastor preached on Jesus revealing Himself to His followers on the road to Emmaus. This is the moment they finally realized their guest was Jesus: “When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” What an amazing Christian family meal that must have been.
And we’re invited! “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” It’s a meal that has been costly for the bridegroom but the relationship is wonderfully healed and restored, for all eternity. And the celebration will be delicious.
From the fruit of the Garden, to the feast in the New Creation, being in God’s family involves food from the Creator Himself. Food to bless us and sustain us; food to grow us and bring us hope; food for now, food for eternal life, and food to share with Christian family.
Reflecting just a little on food and faith has made me wonder again at the character of God. So generous and so tender to His people. So humble in how He provides for us. I’m praying a little of that attitude seeps into my own adventures in feeding my family.