I’m honored to have the inimitable Erin Compton writing for me today. Erin’s blog showcases her brave and astute writing about a variety of topics, from depression to the loss of the sacred feminine in modern Christianity to struggling to connect with a church. Check out her site after you read her post below on the healing power of breaking bread together.
I am a firm believer in the power of food, and I’m pretty sure Jesus was too.
I sincerely believe something spiritual happens when you share a meal with someone, a bond is created in the mutual filling of bellies that for some reason cannot be replicated as effectively over such a short period of time. It is part of the reason that I fully support any Eucharist that is accompanied by an actual feast rather than just a bit of cracker and a sip of grape derived beverage.
In my experience with intentional communities and home churches, food was central. Creating the meal that we would share together was a huge part of our gathering, from deciding what we would make, to figuring out who would bring what ingredients to actually preparing the meal together, the opening of all our Sunday gatherings revolved around food.
Creating a meal together involved a certain amount of contribution and cooperation. It was a solid activity that reminded us in a physical way that we relied on each other for a basic need, to fill our hunger at the very least. Everyone became aware of one another’s basic dietary allergies, likes and dislikes and cared for one another by providing something everyone could eat. Even if we gathered with low blood sugar and nasty tempers as a result, by the time all our plates had been cleared we were in a better mindset to discuss scripture, to disagree amicably, and to support one another.
So naturally when I think about what community means within the church, the faith, the followers of Jesus, I think about food. One of my friends recently shared this quote with me that has been accredited to another spiritual guidepost, the Buddha: “If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.” Speaking from experience, it is very hard to stay irritated with someone you’ve shared food with. I’m aware it happens from time to time, but I also know that sharing food with people I have been in conflict with has been incredibly healing.
I think there is a reason that Jesus’ final goodbyes were said over a meal, I think there is a purpose to loaves and fishes and dining with drunkards, prostitutes and tax collectors, and I think it has something to do with the fact that God knows that our stomachs are intrinsically connected our hearts.
Be blessed, (and fed!).