by Osheta Moore
I once read a joke about churches and food:
A kindergarten teacher gave her class a “show and tell” assignment. Each student was instructed to bring in an object to share with the class that represented their faith tradition.
The first student got up in front of the class and said, “My name is Benjamin and I am Jewish and this is a Star of David.”
The second student got and said, “My name is Mary. I’m a Catholic and this is a rosary.”
The third student said, “My name is Sarah. I am Baptist, and this is a casserole.”
I know… incredibly corny, but is there maybe a bit of truth to it? Is there something inseparable about food and followers of Jesus? In every church I’ve ever attended, there was an emphasis on the times we gathered together to eat: the baby showers that abound with frozen lasagnas and cupcakes, the pastor’s appreciation with catering from that fun BBQ place downtown, the Christmas cookie swaps with colorful and, at times, mis-shapen bells and angels (no Santa allowed in the fellowship hall), and the congregational meetings where you brought your very best casserole thankyouverymuch!
Is it because Jesus was known for enjoying food so much that he was thought to be a glutton? Or is it because Jesus called himself the Bread of Life? Or are meals a fixture in the life of the church because come 12:30 on a Sunday afternoon, if we don’t eat we’re dangerously close to losing all that Holy Spirit goodness we received in service?
For me, eating with other believers has created more opportunities to be encouraged and challenged than any well-crafted 30 minute sermon. Eating with other believers invites intimacy because we have to be vulnerable—we’re caring for one of our most basic human needs in the presence of others. Forks and spoons, paper plates and red Solo cups, chopsticks and serving tongs become the tools we use to build community. We come to the table together because unity awaits us there.
This was our hope when we planned community dinners at Wednesday Together. On September 12, to kick off our Wednesday Together nights, the room was filled with over 250 people all excited to know their church family better. While we didn’t offer a corny church joke or spread of casseroles, we did have trays and trays of taco fixings. Strangers shared life stories, children laughed, and more than a few times I wondered if this is if this is what heaven sounds like: Kingdom people gathering over a meal and sharing holy conversations punctuated with laughter.
If you missed this little slice of heaven, we’re having another Wednesday Together dinner on October 17 at 5:45 in the Gathering Area. Afterwards, we’ll gather for an all-ages worship time in the North Commons and we’ll finish the night off with dessert and fellowship.
Charles Dickens once said, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter.” So, come prepared my friends—not with your prized casserole, but with your favorite corny joke to share at the table.