I love food. I love everything about food. I love eating it, of course. But, I also love talking about it, thinking about it, and reminiscing about it. I love the social traditions that surround good meals. I love the kind of fellowship that can only be shared around a dinner table or across a picnic table or beside the kitchen counter or over the stove.
When I plan a family trip, I always factor in where we’ll stop for our meals--and our snacks between meals. If I’m away for a speaking engagement, I always do a little research to discover what must-experience local cuisines I can fit into the weekend. I even have my favorite spots to grab a quick bite in airports all over the world. A few years ago when I wrote a novel, I turned it into a kind of food-travelogue. Once, I even found a way to fit my love for barbecue into a book about theology. I love food.
That's why I am about to shamelessly hawk the new cookbook published by all the great cooks in my congregation, Parish Presbyterian. No, really. Hot off the press with 225 pages and 300 recipes,Saints Bearing Casseroles is perfect for Christmas gift-giving.
Not only that, but it is a gift with real theological import. Seriously.
You see, not only do I love food, but I actually think God loves food too. Consider the fact that we can hardly read a single page of Scripture without running into a discussion of bread and wine, milk and honey, leeks and onions, glistening oil and plump figs, sweet grapes and delectable pomegranates, roast lamb and savory stew. Everywhere we look, there are feasts and celebrations, fatted calves and pungent herbs, loaves and fishes.
Think about how many ways the Lord uses food to preach the Gospel to our hearts and lives. Faith is defined by hungering and thirsting. Covenant is defined by hospitality and community. The pinnacle of worship is the gathering of God’s people around His table. The culmination of the history of redemption is a wedding supper.
And have you ever noticed that nearly all of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances occurred at meals? Remember, Jesus did not say, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens the door, I will enter in and discuss theology with him.” Oh no! Instead, Jesus said, “I will come in and sup with him.” What a difference!
It is always delightful for me to consider the fact that one of the surest indications of healthy covenant love in a church is the appearance of “saints bearing casseroles.”
This Christmas, give the cooks you love this wonderful collection of wit and wisdom, recipes and meal plans, insight and whimsy. Get your copy (or copies) of Saints Bearing Casseroles from Joanna at the Parish Presbyterian office--they're just $20 apiece and all proceeds benefit the Parish Pres Building Fund (OK, OK, I already admitted that this was all rather shameless). Merry Christmas--and be sure to check out the Texas guacamole!