I recently became aware of a ministry called ‘Comfort Food’…..it is prayerfully and sacrificially providing meals with love, to others who are experiencing a need at a particular time. What a novel way to show God’s love to others!!!! Food can heal wounds and pause war. This was proven at the Christmas Truce of 1914.
So it led me to start thinking about the power of food…….
- Jesus’s ministry involved a lot of food. He fed 5000 and he turned water into wine. He ate with his disciples at the Last Supper, he dined with Zaccheous and Matthew at their houses, and when he visited Mary and Martha….food was mentioned in the account. It seems like it is easier to get the point across and to have one’s ears when they are fed; after all you ‘cant teach a hungry man morals’. Providing food is the hospitable thing to do too……however, we must not gloss over the fact that he gave equal importance to spiritual food. Martha was scolded for shunning the more important things and the Devil was rebuked at Matthew 4 v 4.
- When our new minister at home insisted on having fellowship after each Sunday morning service it was met with resistance…… Everyone wanted to eat but no one wanted to provide. He insisted, he persisted……. I moved to another church and fellowship is a big part of the Sunday morning service, and this is for over 500 persons each Sunday. It works like a charm………..Now I am not sure what effect it has on the gathering but I do not discount the benefits to be derived.
- I knew a wife who sold the family dining table……now as far as I know the family that eats together, stays together. You see it often in the movies….and who remembers Soul Food??? I get the impression too, that part of the coping mechanism of the segregated South in the USA was the family gatherings- around food. No one can dispute that those delectable southern meals- the corn bread, gravies and stews are filled with a whole lot of love, heart and feeling. Around any table with food, is a safe haven for many discussions, decisions and reconciliation.
- Dim Sum got me thinking about the power of the dining table. Spanish, Lebanese, Chinese, Indian and Jamaican and spanning the religious spectrum- Christian, Hindu, Jewish and non-religious all met without acrimony to partake. There was respect for preference in food as well as effort to ensure each was satisfied and comfortable. There was tolerance and awe for those who ate animal brains, turtles, half-egg half-chicken, worm burgers, big-ass ants, dogs and donkeys and then we were regaled too with stories about using urine and snake blood as medicine. The conversation then morphed into a lesson on Hindu marriages and sacrilege; business proposals and strategies were not far behind…..Food truly relaxes the mood and opens the heart…..
- We have our own theories about food too. The may to a man’s heart is through his stomach……. so much so that we have some very weird beliefs as it relates to stew peas and keeping your ‘man’…..I don’t believe it works at all. In fact, I think its just nasty but belief kills and it cures.
- Preparing food, experimenting with menus, exotic dishes and just making tasty food………….who can deny the therapeutic effects. And if you don’t like the kitchen there is BlueApron.com and a billion dollar industry around frozen meals or you can always find a husband who loves to cook. Also, if eating is just a means of surviving for you, no problem with that either. I mean, you don’t have to be a food connoisseur or a chef to enjoy the benefits of the table….
- Dining etiquette, or in Jamaican vernacular ‘table manners’, that is a very essential skill to hone. Last time I checked, sitting at the table is where that is taught. For my grandmother used to tell me, ‘manners carry you through the world’. This is not only about where to put your elbows or handbags, how to eat soup, and which cutlery to use at what time…….it’s also about talking in turn and being on time, saying please and thank you and waiting your turn. It’s about not being greedy or selfish, learning contentment and not practicing gluttony.
Food is the staff of life, but it is also so much more……