Jesus took a cup, giving thanks, saying, “Take this and divide it among yourselves…Then he took a loaf of bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22.17a, 19)
Food and love are inextricably bound.
In Sikeston, Missouri, a small town north of the geographic “bootheel” of my home state, the Reverends Kenny King and William Marshall pastored black United Methodist and white Baptist churches, respectively. In 2018, in proactive response to Martin Luther King’s 1968 lament, “Eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America,” their congregations merged, forming Grace Bible Fellowship.
Did they think they would face challenges? Yes. For racism is a tireless virus affecting, infecting our communal American body. Nevertheless, when asked, apart from their belief in God, what was their secret for working through differences, they replied, “We eat a lot of barbeque together. It’s hard not to love someone with whom you share a table, a meal, and conversation.”
Food and love…
No surprise that the most important church space, after the place of formal worship, is the communal hall with the nearby kitchen.
And no surprise that food and love are closely connected; ever evoking the earliest infant memories of being held and being fed.
It’s Maundy (from the Latin mandare, “to command”) Thursday. The Christian annual commemoration of Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper through which he lovingly feeds his followers with his very self.
Thus, no surprise that Jesus, God in flesh, would command, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
© 2022 PRA
Illustration: The Last Supper (c. 1490), Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)