Food is an opportunity to connect with family, friends, ourselves, and God. A lovingly crafted meal eaten attentively and slowly can be a God-send for connection More than a few years ago, I had made an Indian curry from a cookbook than I had recently bought. When my husband tasted the dish, he started talking about his time in Nepal and Pakistan years ago. I thought I had heard every story he had to tell about that time in his life. I was wrong. Over that meal, he told other stories and I was able to understand his heart a little more.
During the holidays, food inevitably brings up memories of Christmases past as well as other memories. I made ginger snaps this winter for the first because I had memories of my grandfather’s version. The pastor at our church commented on those cookies in particular. He shared how his father, a traveling salesman, kept ginger snaps in the car as a snack when he was traveling.
Why is this an act of worship? Food offers us an opportunity to take care of our bodies and take care of our souls. The nutritional values is obvious. We have to eat. The spiritual side is this. When we offer food thoughtfully and with respect, caring for and honoring those at the table, it creates an atmosphere where sharing, laughing and relating happens naturally. Fellowship revives the soul.
Every meal is a still life, in real time and space of the convergence of God’s creative and redemptive acts. This may not be overtly explained in a blessing or a conversation. The complex arrays of colors, textures, aromas, and, of course, tastes that we participate in rise out of the variety of God’s creative acts. The table fellowship is a foretaste of full redemption when Christ’s wedding feast culminates in the wedding feast of the lamb. We will sit and enjoy the finest of friends, perfectly aged wine, and the best food.
The bottom line, for me, is this. Cooking is an act of worship.