Each year after Easter, Eden Seminary hosts a continuing education event. Many alumni return for this event, featuring theologians and church leaders discussing current scholarship and ecclesial trends. I attend this event each year to recharge and renew myself after the wonderfully hectic pace of Lent and Holy Week; and to spend time participating in current Theological conversation.
This year, the theme of the event was, “Food and Faith;” and the presenters discussed ways that Food impacted the relationship God had with God’s people in the stories of our Traditions. But the term “Food” is a broad one; for it encompasses not only what we consume, but the land that produced it. The Hebrew understandings of Land, Livestock and Creation in general were intrinsically tied to Food Production; and the understanding that God supplies nourishment to God’s people through the bounty of The Earth was central to the way they worshiped God.
From the formation of Humankind (Genesis 2-God breathed life into Bountiful, Blessed Land and the earth-creature emerged, worshiping God) to Peter’s call to bring the Good News of God’s Love to Cornelius and the Gentiles (Acts 10-God sent Peter a vision featuring a plethora of ‘unclean’ animals and told him to eat them) food and food production have been central to the teachings of Jesus; central to God’s Wisdom in our midst. However to many in our world today, Food has become something we simply buy at the grocery store; we have forgotten about the Land that produced it and the agricultural methods that are such intimate examples of God’s blessing and bounty with us.
We are going to talk about “Food and Faith” all month long in May. I will be offering a special “Sermon Series” on “Food and Faith” and the ways food and agriculture can be recognized and respected as vital gifts from God. We will explore Biblical stories where God/Jesus uses food to exemplify grace, encourage relationship, and bestow blessings upon God’s people. We will also discuss what that means to us today, a society that has often forgotten from where our food comes.
Come join us for worship all 5 Sundays in May- Food and Faith!
Back in the days when televisions had tubes and were encased in “consoles”, my father used to make a few bucks on the side by working on them. He had a knack for fixing anything electronic (not an inherited trait, I assure you) and had studied electronics in the Air Force. If your television set was broken, my father could fix it. Occasionally he would bring sets back home to work on them, but more often than that he made “house calls,” working on someone’s television set while my brother and I sat nearby, patiently waiting for him to be done. (This was before hand-held electronic devices made “waiting” entertaining and “patience” a thing of the past.) Every now and then he would work on a set that was out of focus. I don’t have the electronic understanding to know what caused this; but ghost images would be present on the screen, sometimes three or four or more images, causing the whole picture to be out of sync. The best way I can describe it is that the images needed to be realigned, or they would remain incomprehensible; their purpose could not be fully understood. As Christians, we are often like those TV sets my father would fix. We get misaligned, maladjusted, out of sync. Life and our narcissistic culture messes with our heads, our priorities, our souls. Our life becomes incomprehensible, our purpose not understood. Lent is a time of realignment for us. Lent is a time when we, as Christians, intentionally take 6 weeks to focus our priorities on Christ, his life, and his teachings. Our Sundays are filled with special praise, our Wednesday evenings with focused worship themes, journeying with Christ. This is a season to get back in alignment with Christ. This Lenten Season (Lent starts February 18) I invite you to focus your life, by spending intentional time in worship. This is the most Holy time of the Christian year; let’s all spend it together realigning our lives with the One who gives us purpose. – Pastor Rick