From the book of Exodus we’ve got a wilderness story, after the people’s liberation from slavery. Eating, here, becomes a reminder both of the people’s impatience, of their complaining, but also of God’s great mercy and forbearance. Eating is a direct link to God for these people in the wilderness. It is God alone that stands between them and starvation. This story makes it as clear as possible: the bread literally falls down from heaven.
So, what is their hunger then? A reminder that they cannot go it alone. That means that meals for the people of God are an act of remembering, of reminding. And this theme of daily remembering God in meals, is at the center of what the earliest Christians did, under the leadership of Peter, in the book of Acts. “Day by day,” it says. Day by day, we too eat. Sometimes with our families, or our neighbors, or even just alone with God.
To eat together is to really share our humanity: we are limited, we all get hungry. We need things from the outside. And God, we say, provides this for us. Jesus, we believe, is this for us.
It is only fitting then that Scripture speaks of daily meals, because God’s people in both the Old and New Testaments had to deal with this human reality. Hunger is our existence, we need something from the outside to give us life. We need God to give us life, to give our lives meaning.
And that giving, which God does for us, is contagious. It multiplies. See how the simple act of praying in thanksgiving to God, of eating together across lines of difference, across class in the divided and stratified culture of Peter’s time in Acts was so earth-shattering:
“They broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts,” the author of Acts writes, “Praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
We try, ourselves, to allow God to do the same to us, to give us the “goodwill of all the people.” We first acknowledge we need God—and we need each other—to survive. “Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.” God says in Exodus. And from this knowledge, from the gratitude this knowledge creates, we share with others.
From our own tables of day by day meals, we share so that others may experience the plenty and gratitude we have. Over $2000 raised for FISH in February from St. Andrew’s! Pounds and pounds of food each week throughout the whole pandemic! It is an expression of our common need as humans, an expression of our gratitude.
The same as our day by day breaking bread with God and family in mealtime, and remembering, therefore, that we are saved.