Food has always brought people together.
Throughout the Gospels in the Bible, we see Jesus using food to unite people.
- When He wanted to get through to Zacchaeus, He went to his house for a meal.
- When He wanted to explain what the kingdom of God is like, He did it through a shared meal and encouraged us to carry on that practice.
Jesus started a tradition that used meals to signify certain things. The Jewish adopted this and celebrated feasts such as Passover, Pentecost, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles and passed on the wisdom to the next generation.
The same is true for different cultures across the world. Food acts as a central point where people gather around. It serves as a place where stories are told and wisdom passed down to generations.
It is a place that fostered community relations and solidified families because all of us need food to survive.
Now we are moving further and further away from the origins of our food. The foods we consume today are more heavily processed and perfectly cleaned than ever before. We get less variety and as a result, so much food is wasted.
We, too, have we moved further away from the table. We gather instead in front of the TV with food trays on our laps. We have become passive observers of a distant drama, rather than participants in a real and present place.
The skill of listening – truly listening, is becoming more and more difficult as we attempt to make sense of the noise that we are subjected to on a daily basis.
The art of conversation is now in a dwindling form; punctuated by sound bytes, and interrupted incessantly by noise and lights.
Our faith is about relationship.
Faith calls us back to forming relationships with God and with others.
The incarnation reminds us that relationship matters. It is far more important than wealth, status, or entertainment. Anything worth having takes effort, and it is the same for our relationships.
As a society, we have become divided. Yet, we still have food in common.
Let us get back to the table. Let us continue to share and learn together.
May we dust off our tables, may we prepare good food, and may we continue to build relationships along the way.