There’s nothing like food to bring people together. I’ve gotten closer to people over Halal chicken, Thanksgiving turkey, Sushi, Vietnamese noodle soup, tacos, ice cream sundaes, hamburgers, potatoes with peanut sauce, casseroles, and biriyani or steak dinners. Our church believes in hospitality in all its forms.
Jesus was known for his “eating and drinking” with sinners and some of our memorable stories are of him with Matthew, Zacchaeus, the 5000, the 4000 and the Disciples at the Last Supper.
Perhaps at our meals, we are together vulnerably expressing our mutual need for ‘daily bread’ and our humble thankfulness for God’s most recent provision. There is a togetherness that often helps us relax and share on a more personal level. As long as there is food on our plate we are present and available to share one more story, to hear one more antidote, to discuss one more idea.
When we share food from another culture there is the extension of friendship and acceptance. There is the taking in of something which is important and meaningful to another. There is a drawing together across differences in something common which makes us alike.
Meals pull people to cross social barriers since wealthy and poor alike enjoy good food. There is joy in the creation, the serving, the consuming and even comradery in the cleanup if that is part of the routine.
We recently shared a wedding shower for our intern and his fiancé. This event with multi-cultural food brought diverse cultures, ages, social classes, genders and faith groups together into one joy filled occasion where cuisine played a central role.
What you are eating across from me helps me stay face to face with you. In a world filled with technology which can keep us connected but apart, it is nice to sense close proximity to another person made in God’s image who is struggling through the challenges of life, breathing in the same air, experiencing the same atmosphere, taking the same time just to be here, together.
We claim to be 50 nations in one family. The second Sunday of each month we celebrate the food from a different part of the world and our members love preparing, displaying and offering what is close to their hearts and stomachs.
When food is offered, somehow people come when nothing else might draw them into relationship.
What have you done to express your hospitality across barriers? What is your favorite food to offer to someone with whom you want to share friendship or welcome? When you think back on the all the meals you’ve eaten, which food offered to you did you enjoy and appreciate the most? What made it so special?