Preparing for Worship – Mary Kay Jackman.
Jesus liked to eat. He liked to eat with all sorts of people: tax collectors, Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers, sinners, disciples, strangers, brothers and sisters, friends and not-friends. Food was important to Jesus, and he wanted to make sure people had enough of it. Remember how he fed thousands with just a loaf or two of bread and a couple of fish? The evangelists were so impressed with this massive, miraculous communion that each included it in his version of the gospel.
In the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, we hear him teaching with parables, many of which — the lost sheep, lost coin, prodigal son, rich man’s dinner, wedding banquet, to name just a few — have food, feasting, and communal celebration as integral to the lesson. Jesus knew how important food and fellowship were to the people he addressed.
Food and fellowship remain important to us now, don’t you think? Let me give you an example. In June, my friend Julie Owen and I took a Greyhound bus to New Orleans, where we planned research for our current novel. We stuffed a huge tote full of snacks that we intended to keep in our hotel room and avoid eating out so much. The bus was packed, and the atmosphere was thick with stress and frustration. We were late leaving the depot; people frowned and grumbled. When we finally boarded and found seats, and without any preamble, Julie stood up, looked ahead and behind, and said, “Anybody want a brownie bite?” After a few seconds of stunned silence, someone sitting several rows behind us waved and yelled, “Yeah!”
That opened the bus to full-on communion — food and fellowship. Barriers broke down. Frowns turned into smiles, grumbles into laughter. The elements may have been pretzels and brownie bites, but the Holy Spirit joined the passengers that day. We feasted on the body of Jesus Christ — all were welcomed, and no one went hungry.
May the Peace of the Lord be with you this Communion Sunday and ever after; for wherever, whenever and with whomever you feast, you can count on Jesus joining you.