Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Sharing Food. Sharing Love.

Dear Friends,

My mom didn’t just teach me how to cook, she showed me that there is joy in feeding others. Some people prepare food out of a necessity to eat. My mom prepared food for others as a way of showing her love. Nothing made her happier than having the whole family over for dinner or preparing a gourmet meal for friends. My mom loved that I shared her enthusiasm for cooking and she and my dad would give me cookbooks for birthdays and Christmas. A certain loved one in my life today is not showered with diamonds, perfumes and untold riches but she does get homemade pizza, pink lemonade cookies and her favorite fresh-baked pumpkin scones! 

My mom taught me well and in past years, one of the ways I have shown my love for my church family on Christmas is when they came to my house and I cooked up a giant pot of Jambalaya – my mom’s recipe of course. The scent of baking bread would fill the house and before the meal, we took communion together with a loaf of bread fresh from the oven. I think that’s what Jesus would do...

We read throughout the New Testament how Jesus used food to serve others and show His love for them. On one occasion, He fed many thousands of His followers. Scripture tells us there were 5,000 men but there may have been just as many women and children who were also present. On another occasion, He fed a megachurch sized crowd of 4,000 followers. Mark 8:19-20 NLT 

The Jewish leaders complained bitterly about Jesus dining with tax collectors and other assorted sinners. “Why do You eat and drink with such scum?” they asked. Luke 5:29-30 NLT Jesus replied that it was in the context of fellowship with those who were lost and struggling that He could offer them a changed life. Luke 5:31-32. Jesus didn’t come to save the self-righteous; He came to save those who were lost. Those who had messed up their lives. Those who were among the marginalized in society. He ate with them. He talked with them. He blessed them.

Jesus knew that food feeds hungry stomachs and that it also feeds hungry souls. “On the night in which Jesus was betrayed, He took bread and after giving thanks, He broke it..” 1 Cor 11:23-25. Jesus’ last supper was shared with His disciples and then after His crucifixion and resurrection, one of the things He did was to light a campfire and cook breakfast for some of His disciples before ascending into Heaven! John 21:9-14 NLT

A few years ago, the offices of our City Councilmember and County Supervisor combined with LAPD, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and local clergy to plan the County’s first Homeless Connect Day. Sylmar was chosen to hold the first Connect Day event because of our large homeless population and I was the sole clergy representative on the committee. I reached out to a pastor friend and the event was held at his church – our community’s only African-American church.  It was a perfect Autumn day. Over two hundred men and women were fed a delicious lunch. Professional caterers had prepared sandwiches made from croissants piled high with deli-sliced turkey, roast beef and cheese. Huge bowls of fresh fruit. Salads. Pastries. Faces lit up with joy as they enjoyed a meal prepared and served with love. We set up a tent where both men and woman were given haircuts by professional hair stylists. There were portable showers and fresh clothing. They received backpacks stuffed with life’s necessities. They were also connected with those who could provide them with long-term assistance and opportunities to turn their life around. It was a “government event” but because I wore the black shirt and clerical collar, many approached me to ask for prayer. Those who live a life of struggle and despair on the streets were loved and cared for that day. I think that’s what Jesus would do...

Food connects us with others. It builds a bridge on which a relationship can be formed. Whether feeding the homeless, baking brownies for a church potluck or taking a meal to a shut-in, giving food provides a tangible way of imparting the love of Christ to others. And the best thing about it is that you don’t have to be a gourmet cook or a five star chef to prepare a meal for another person. If you’re sufficiently able to feed yourself, you’re qualified to prepare a meal for others! When Jesus cooked breakfast for His disciples, the Son of God tossed some fish on a campfire and baked some flat bread on a hot rock! Jesus didn’t spend hours over a gourmet meal, He cooked for His disciples what we might today call, “fish tacos!”

Do you know someone who is going through some tough times? Think about what you might do to help. Going to the grocery store and filling a couple of bags with pantry basics and frozen food for those who may be struggling with illness or difficult circumstances can be a huge blessing. Sharing food is a perfect opportunity for you to put your faith into action. It’s what we can do to show our love for others. It’s what Jesus would do...

No comments:

Post a Comment