May 23, 2017

Food That Restores

I recently learned that, “the word ‘restaurant’ is a French-coined word that means: food that restores.” As someone who wants to go into the culinary industry, I greatly appreciated this, and it affirmed many of the conclusions I had come to believe about food. I love food, and I love making it, and being at Covenant has changed my perspective of what food is and what my relationship to it should be.

The phrase “food that restores” conveys that there is more to food than we might initially think: food is so much more than calories to be counted. It is, as Dr. Kaufmann puts it, “A foretaste of future glory.” Gathering around a table to eat together is one of the ways that we can affirm the image of God in others and experience humanity to its fullest. You may think that I am just a food enthusiast and have overstated my opinion, but I don’t believe that I have. My hope in this article is to help you to see food differently: I hope you come see it as an opportunity to worship God and to enjoy a foretaste of future glory.

Food plays an important role throughout the Bible. It was eating of the fruit of the tree by which Adam and Eve fell. As Christians, Jesus invites us to come to the Lord’s table – a meal. The Israelites remembered and celebrated the faithfulness and provision of God through feasts throughout the year. Food plays a significant role in the Bible, and it should not be overlooked.

I will be the first to admit that food is broken and that we often do not relate to food as we ought. That is a result of the fall; creation is fallen and food now is not what God originally intended it to be. We struggle with gluttony, food allergies, food that is prepared poorly, food that goes bad, as well as unhealthy foods.. But, even with food, we can see how God created it good, and it is broken now because of the fall. God doesn’t leave it there though. He is working through us to bring at least partial redemption to his creation now and will one day completely redeem and restore all things – including food. Even now when we eat good food we can have a glimpse into the glory that is to come.

In a past BagPipe article (Covenant College’s school news paper), Adrienne Siegenthaler made the comments that, “food is broken…” and  “that food is holy.” I completely agree with her. As Christians we are to love what God loves and hate what he hates, and as we enjoy food, we take pleasure in his creation. We must recognize that food is a gift from God, and He has given us the ability to enjoy that gift through our senses. We enjoy the aesthetic beauty of our food, eating with our eyes first and then proceed to enjoy it through our sense of taste. We can see in Genesis 1 that God looks at His creation and says it is good, and then in Psalm 104:31 that God rejoices in it. When we eat we can glorify God. We see Paul charge the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” As I take a bite of an awesome homemade lasagna, I can thank God for his provision and for the ability to be able to take joy in the taste – and worship in that. While we can and should worship and glorify God in our relationship to food, food also plays a huge role in our relationships with one another.

When you think of your best friends, how did you become so close? You probably spent a good deal time together, but chances are that you shared many meals together. Recently on a Sunday evening at LMPC, Pastor Joe Novenson made the comment, “It’s hard to think you’re not welcome, when someone invites you to their table.” He was speaking in regards to the Lord’s Supper, but the principle applies to our everyday meals as well. People are not just objects. They are human beings made in the image of God, and this means that they are multidimensional: they are creative, rational, social, as well as so many other things. When you sit down to a meal together, you have the opportunity to affirm the image of God in people and help them know that they are valuable. I’m not saying this can only be done around a meal, but it is a common opportunity for everyone. Through this process you build and strengthen relationships.

It is my hope that the next time you sit down to eat, you aren’t solely doing so to sustain your body so that you can function. I hope you consider the good gift that God has given us and praise and thank Him for it. I hope that you are intentional to affirm the image of God in those that you share meals with and assure them that they are valuable. God through food restores our bodies, relationships, and joy in Him.

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