Have you noticed, as you walk around your neighbourhood on a beautiful summer day, or any public place for that matter, you can smell the aroma of food cooking on the grill? For me, it brings back cherished memories of family cookouts in the backyard.
Food is a powerful expression of welcome and friendship in every culture and sharing food and drink, welcoming and eating with those who were on the outskirts of society was a big part of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus was all about food.
In Jesus’ time, the people of Israel were expecting a Messiah to come with a big bang, defeating God’s enemies and vindicating God’s people. Instead, they got, what they thought, was only a man who shared meals.
However, not only did he share meals, he provided for them. He changed water into wine at a wedding in Cana. He changed a few fish and a few loaves into a meal for more than 5,000. He grilled and served fish at the lakeshore to his grieving disciples. And, something else: Jesus never forgot to bless and thank God for all that was received.
Jesus’ sharing of food is significant: it embodies Creator God’s grace and enacts God’s mission of justice and equality where all are welcome at the table.
The sharing of food is central to the mission of Jesus and remains so today. When we share food, we do so as friends: we sit at the same level around the same table and we eat as family.
Food too reminds us of our dependence on others: we are tied into a network of farmers, truck drivers, traders, shopkeepers, cooks and, most importantly it reminds us that we are dependent on Creator God to sustain us.
May your summer be filled with the aroma of neighbourhood BBQ’s and your life embody Jesus’ vision of sharing and caring for all!