Food and Faith

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Jesus ate a lot of food and meals with people throughout his lifetime. His eating with others reminds us of the down-to-earth nature of a life in Christ. 

In eating together, community was formed, life was celebrated, and promises were made. Meals take center stage in the weeks surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection. The last supper that Jesus ate with and served to his disciples, what Christians celebrate on Maundy Thursday, was a passover meal.

In his words and actions, he asked his disciples to eat together again and again⁠—and in doing so to remember who he is, what he has done, and what creates a Christ-like body of followers. It was over a meal, after traveling the Emmaus Road together, that two disciples recognized their guest as Jesus, and an early morning breakfast prepared and served by Jesus became a reunion meal between master and disciples that launched them into a new way of living.

Jesus used food as a tangible, physical way to reveal and remind us of his presence and to build his kingdom. I wonder if the significance of food throughout Jesus’ life can teach us something about the way we eat and grow food, how we use and misuse food and food systems, and whether we ensure that ALL have access to his abundance. Food can have a real, tangible impact on our faith.

Eugene Peterson in his book, Living the Resurrection, writes, “All the elements of formation-by-resurrection are present every time we sit down to a meal and invoke Jesus as host. It’s a wonderful thing, really, that one of the most common actions of our lives is also the setting in which the most profound transactions take place.“

What are you discovering about food and faith? How has your faith changed how you eat, grow, buy, or give food or advocate for just food systems?

Whatever your connection to food, maybe Easter is a great time to take a closer look at the relationship between food and faith. Here are some resources that might help as you start your food and faith journey:

  • Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life by Eugene Peterson
  • Resurrection Matters: Church Renewal for Creation’s Sake by Nurya Love Parish
  • Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating by Norman Wirzba
  • The Spirit of Soul Food: Race, Faith, and Food Justice by Christopher Carter
  • Eat Well: A Road Map edited by Kirsten Vander-Geissen-Reistma
  • Food and Faith Podcast 
  • Food Solutions New England 21-day Racial Equity Challenge (started April 4, but it’s not too late to register)  

To discuss ideas and best practices for churches and Christians to engage in food security locally, contact Jodi Koeman, [email protected].  

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