Kingdom around the Table
Why God Loves Food
I love food.
Everyone who comes to my house and sits at my table often gets a pretty darn good meal (not my own words). After their satisfaction, they tend to ask me if I like cooking.
My response is always the same, “I don’t really like to cook, but I really like to eat!”
This is why I cook.
After I moved to Germany, I realized, to my dismay, that there was a significant lack of fast food restaurants. It was also considerably more expensive to eat out. The stores also didn’t have my go to meals – Campbell’s Soup, pasta sauce, frozen perogies and pre-shredded cheddar cheese, salad dressing in a bottle. What was this poor, young Canadian girl to do?
Since I was hungry for yummy food, I was forced to roll up my sleeves and learn to cook – the hard way: Trial and error.
I cringe at one of my first attempts at “Lemon Cream Chicken”.
How was I supposed to know that adding the lemon into the cream would cause the sauce to instantly curdle!?
I’m feeling a wee bit sorry for my husband right now.
The good news is is that out of my cooking efforts, I developed skills and abilities I never had before. Thus, I can proudly say now: I can cook!
Today, I am very happy to spoil people at my table with my delicious food. If you find yourself passing through our neck of the woods, be welcome to come by for a meal at our table!
As my cooking skills grew, so did my confidence to feed people (besides my husband and myself). With that, I dove down deeper into the meaning of hospitality and God’s intention with meals.
I have concluded that indeed, God loves food. Let’s see a few reasons why.
Food, Not a Means to an End
It was only when I started really truly cooking that I began to realize that God actually had specific intentions for food.
It’s tempting to understand the body as simply a complex machine that runs on a continual balance of calories, fat, and vitamins.
Oh! I myself have indeed been guilty of just cramming in a mouthful of bagel nutrients in order to be on my way to do more important things.
But this was not God’s intention, and we can see this confirmed even in scientific research.
Slow Eating Benefits
Did you know that according to a study in the British Medical Journal slow eating can help us digest and absorb nutrients better, lose weight, reduce risk of food poisoning, and improve oral health?
Me neither. But when I did start eating slower, a phenomenal thing happened: I could taste butter for the first time!
Food and Mental Health
Did you know that food plays an important role regarding mental health?
The body of evidence linking diet and mental health is growing at a rapid pace. As well as its impact on short and long-term mental health, the evidence indicates that food plays an important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease.
We can see here that food is not just the means to keep us going, but our partner for the physical and mental health we all desire. This is one reason why it is good to be mindful of what we consume.
The Power of a Meal
God, oddly enough, regards humans in a really trendy way – holistically.
It’s like he understood that each part of the human was somehow all intimately interconnected . That means that even food for him is no side subject. Just observing his creation firsthand we see that he designed it with colour, shape, texture, flavour, and smell. Why might that be?
What I find intriguing is how food can affect each one of us.
Last year, I watched a series on Netflix called Chef’s Table. What was so powerful was that the chefs shared how their journey with food began. Interestingly, it was almost always at home, in their grandmothers’ kitchen, or with another family member.
Have you ever smelled something and it instantly brought you back to a fond memory? This has happened to me many times. I wonder if it is the same with these chefs. Perhaps it was a time where they felt secure, or safe, or maybe it was a moment where they learned what love was like. I wonder if, in their artistry, they try to recreate those moments that so impacted them.
Remember History: The Passover Meal
An example in the Bible of how God uses a meal to capture his peoples’ hearts and remind them of a memory is the Passover meal.
In that meal, the Jews remember that they were slaves, and that God freed them from the hardships of Egypt. Each part of the Passover meal has symbolic significance. For instance, there is salty water to taste and remember the tears of the slaves, the unleavened bread to remind them they had to leave so quick there was no time for bread to rise, and then lamb bone to remember the sacrificed lamb and the blood that protected them from the angel of death.
In fact, all through the Bible we catch glimpses of God’s heart for food and hospitality intertwined amidst his interaction with mankind and within his grand narrative.
God uses the tastes, smells and textures of food to remind us of him in ways that are deeper than words.
God loves Food – and Hospitality
Recently, our family was on the road traveling for a couple of weeks. Our first stop was at the OJC- The Reichenberg Fellowship, a community of Christians a couple hours away who work and live together. We have been intrigued with the idea of community, so we thought we would visit them with a few of our questions.
The first thing we encountered was a piece of paper laid out on our welcome table. It was a schedule of visits. Each day we would visit a different family from the community for meals, and cake throughout the week. I was astounded. We are by no means a small family! They each took time to cook for us, and spend time with us amidst their working week.
I felt so honoured.
Our youngest also celebrated his second birthday during that time. One of the families got word of it, and threw him a little birthday breakfast! Complete with some balloons and a small gift.
I felt so loved.
Just for this reason, God loves food and hospitality. When we sit down together, we catch a glimpse of his heart.
It is a powerful way to honour and love one another.
It is a time where we can share with one another our thoughts, ideas, problems, dreams.
Meals break down barriers. They put you at ease, and construct a platform for communication.
A Gateway to Relationship
I’m thankful now that I moved to Germany – the land that lacks fast food.
Perhaps if I were still in Canada, I would still be stuck wolfing down a can of Campbell’s soup in less than a minute without any further thoughts.
Through my being forced to cook God has shown me how having an open home, preparing a meal or a feast, can speak to people louder than words.
Food is a gateway to relationship, and as some good friends of mine like to say, “It’s all about relationship with God.”
Do you Like Food and the Bible?
Join me as we spend a few weeks looking through the Bible at the role of food and hospitality in proclaiming and experiencing the Kingdom of God.
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