sacred story of meals
God thinks food is a pretty big deal.
Not because He relies on calories for survival or because His deified nature gifts Him with spectacular taste buds, but because food is central to the story that He has been composing since the beginning of time.
According to the account of Genesis, Adam and Eve were given only one restriction while living in the Garden of Eden. It was not a restriction on their language, their entertainment, their fashion, or their sexuality, but a restriction on food. Of course, Adam and Eve ignored this lone restriction and thus, through the very act of eating, brought sin into the world. And with it, a curse upon both humanity and the land.
The direct effects of this curse are painfully recognizable in the state of food today. From the number of bellies that go to bed each night swollen with starvation to the mass farmed livestock living atop each other in their own filth, the earth groans in eager anticipation of full restoration.
But as we know, the story does not end with a fallen creation. When God came to earth in the form of Christ, dying and resurrecting to break the bonds of the curse, He set in motion the restoration of Creation. And to ensure that Christ's followers would not forget the work He began, or their own role in its continuation, He gave them a gift in the form of food.
For 2000 years, Christians around the world have joined in community over this sacred meal, not as a mere commemoration of Christ's death, but as our own participation in the restorative work begun by the cross. We eagerly anticipate the day when Christ will return and finish His work of renewing the earth. But our role is not one of mere anticipation. The work of the Cross meant that in Christ, we as humans now have the ability to take part in the process of restoration. By partaking of the bread and the wine, we commit ourselves to the work of restoring the earth with the knowledge that this restoration will one day soon be completed by Christ.
The story of the Gospel is a story of meals. A meal that brought destruction coupled with a meal that brings restoration.
God thinks food is a pretty big deal. And by participating in His meal, we have a responsibility to think so too.
"And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genesis 2:16
"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pain of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."
"When we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory.
Dying you destroyed our death,
rising you restored our life:
Lord Jesus, come in glory."
Eucharistic Prayer, Book of Common Prayer