Les Sillars: A theology of eating together

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, November 28th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Happy Thanksgiving.

Many of us may be feasting together, but “eating alone” has caught the attention of some media in recent weeks. The Wall Street Journal says, for example, that eating alone has lost its stigma as something for the sad and lonely.

REICHARD: But WORLD Radio’s Les Sillars wonders whether eating alone gives up more than we think it does.

LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: Eating alone may indeed be losing its stigma. But that doesn’t change the fact that eating together builds relationships. When we forget that, we lose chances to get to know friends and strengthen family bonds. But even more than that.

HARTOG: The Scriptures are pretty clear in my opinion, that God has called us to dine. He’s called us to dine with each other, and He’s called us to dine with Him.

That’s one of my pastors, Don Den Hartog. He recently taught a class on Genesis 1. He described a theology of food and drew some fascinating parallels between Genesis 1 and the Gospel of John.

God could have designed us to get the energy and nutrients we need from dirt. Instead, God blessed us with an incredible variety of tasty fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and spices. Not to mention brownie sundaes. And we are to enjoy them together.

HARTOG: Rather, dining relates to the concept of fellowship, engagement, of interaction, a coming together of spirits, as well as body and in centered around food, that food is an integral part of that … and there is a Biblical and theological reason for that.

To the Israelites He gave manna in the wilderness. He is the true bread from heaven that gives life to all who believe. “Give us this day, our daily bread,” as Jesus taught us to pray. In a way, if you really recognize what you’re doing, to eat is to pray.

HARTOG: Why did He make food? Why are we dependent on food? Because dependency and love are interconnected. A love relationship with total independence cannot happen.

It’s no coincidence that in the garden, food, choice, and love all came together in one earth-shattering event.

HARTOG: Food was a central point of love, because it was a central point of choice. Eat God’s provision, respect God’s prohibition.

Dining is not about fine china, celebrity chefs, or fancy recipes. If you need to roast your own coffee beans, OK, whatever. There’s nothing wrong with knowing how to prepare good food. 

But let us not eat alone. Let us eat to draw near to others, and draw near to God. And as we eat, let it remind us of our dependence on Him.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Les Sillars.

Sidewalk Prophets: Come to the Table  [first verse and chorus]
We all start on the outside
The outside looking in
This is where grace begins
We were hungry, we were thirsty
With nothing left to give
Oh the shape that we were in
Just when all hope seemed lost
Love opened the door for us
He said come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior now
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table

(Photo/Creative Commons)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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