From the Garden to the Table

Our tables at home are reflective of the table we gather around at worship.  As a Christian family, you are fundamentally defined by that table,  by eating there. Now the table that our Lord has laid for us with His body and His blood is a table of salvation.  It is not a table of guilt.  It is not a table of introspection.  It is not a table of grievances, of remembering the sins of others towards us.  It is a table of forgiveness, of celebration.  At a very fundamental level, it is a table of gratitude. We remember the Lord’s death until He comes–we remember that we are saved, forgiven, redeemed, and restored into fellowship with God.

There is no other table of salvation.  Those who will not come to the table of Jesus Christ can find no peace around any table.  This will not keep them from trying to create a table of salvation through their own devising.  The Rev. Sylvester Graham made tasty crackers in an effort to rid us of lust ( the origin of Graham Crackers).  As though a special cracker could  stand in for a savior.  The Kellogg brothers were up to kind of similar righteousness-by-food business.  We find this is funny now, in retrospect, because the world has been eating cereal for some time now without any great results, an even graham crackers have failed to solve the problem.  But this sort of foolishness did not die with those men, it is as old as mankind, and it is still alive and well.  It is sometimes spectacular to see the kind of  “righteousness” that can get going in our own times about food.

This is why, at a fundamental level the only way we can eat well is by being well eaters.  And the only way that we can be well eaters is by being made well through the blood of Christ. Remembering this is so central for our family tables.  There is no unclean food; there are only unclean people.  Our tables are places of gratitude. We used to  be unclean, and now we are clean.  But it is still possible to break fellowship with Christ in how we approach our food and how we behave around our tables.  Here are a few ways to do that:

1) We can be fearful.  We can spend time fretting over what we are eating.  Christian mothers may not be fearful about food, because Jesus is our Savior.  He is with us, and He does not want us to fear.

Matthew 6:25-34 says,

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

2) We can be disobedient.  We can pursue food interests that our husband does not want us to.  We can break fellowship with our husband if he buys our children doughnuts.  We could get so into health food that our husband doesn’t feel welcome at his own table.  In other words, we could get so consumed with the healthy food that we are no longer healthy people.  We could, in pursuit of health, break fellowship with our husbands and as well as with Jesus.

3) We can use food to separate us from others.  Jesus prioritized table fellowship over food. You should abhor the thought of using food to identify yourself.  What identifies you is the blood of Christ.  The Pharisees found themselves abstaining from a table at which Christ was eating, because they were cleaner than that.  Make sure that you are not standing with them looking down on the fellowship around anyone’s table.

4) We can look to food to save us from the fall.  We are all fallen creatures in corruptible bodies.  Sin did that, not food.   The truth is that we all die, and we will all die of something.  Before pesticides and growth hormones and fertilizers were introduced, people were dying.  Jesus said he did not come for the healthy, but for the sick.  Jesus Christ was the solution.  He came as the Savior of mankind–body and soul.  Mankind cannot dig out of the consequences of the fall, we can only be carried out.  Jesus did that.

If we are consumed with food itself, instead of the Savior who gave it to us, if we think that the fact that we are clean in our own doing, we can change nothing.  If we are filled with disgust at people feeding their children white sugar, then we are standing with our own little group of mom-Pharisees looking down on dirty people.

We cannot change the world if we are not in fellowship with the Savior.  And if we in fellowship with Him–our lives overflow with gratitude, with joy, with laughter–then there is nothing we can do to keep that from changing the world, because the world will be changed through Him in us.

~Rachel Jankovic, “Well Eating”. Fit To Burst. 

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