Food and the Five Senses

By October 16, 2018Weekly Update

O Taste and See!

Tim: We have a new harvest-season series we’re calling “Feast!”

Shea: We’re going to look at food-related topics in scripture and get better grounding in why biblical writers placed so much value on flavor and meals and eating rituals.

Tim: All of that is important in scripture.

Shea: In the Judeo-Christian framework, food is a cultural and religious anchor. Both the Hebrew and Christian texts spill a lot of ink about food. And the central ritual in both faiths occurs weekly at the table. In Judaism there’s the Shabbat meal on Friday evenings, when family and friends gather to begin the Sabbath. Christians do something similar on Sunday mornings, when we gather at the Communion table at church. These sacred meals reclaim our collective past and recommit to a shared future and purpose.

Tim: We can’t overlook our Muslim, Hindu, and other friends who also participate in sacred feasts and food-based rituals.

Shea: Yes, the combination of food and worship is universal, in part because food is an extremely reliable and enjoyable way to experience the sacred. For instance, bread and wine rest at the center of the Shabbat and Eucharistic meals. Yet there’s much more going on.

Tim: Such as?

Shea: Both feasts engage all five senses. In Jewish homes, the week begins with a kind of multisensory reawakening: the sight and smell of lighted candles, the sound of prayers and songs, the feel of bread shared across the table, the taste of bread and wine and other dishes spread before the guests. Having inherited those sensibilities from our Jewish ancestors, the same thing happens during Christian Communion.

Tim: Both rituals refer to the ancient past in some way, with Jewish families recalling the Creation and the Exodus, while Christians remember the promises made real in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. But they are also very immediate in the claims they make on those who gather. At the table, with all of our senses enlivened, we become highly aware that God is with us, in us, and for us.

Shea: Exactly! That’s why the Christian Communion liturgy includes the Great Thanksgiving, a lengthy prayer that offers gratitude for the work of Christ and evidence of God’s goodness in the world. As our senses come alive to the table’s sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and touches, our spirits also come alive to our Maker. How did the psalmist put it? “O taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Ps. 34:8)

Tim: This is going to be a marvelous series—a true feast!

Join us this Thursday, as we begin a new study series, “Feast!” at L!VE Café, 163 S. Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park. Doors open at 7:00p, the study begins at 7:30p. If you can’t be with us in person, join us via Facebook Live.

We need your help!

As we think about the future of Gather, please let us know what gifts you bring and would like to share with the community. There are many roles that have to come together to make Gather happen every week. This includes setup, technical support, worship, managing handouts and information, coordinating drinks, and teardown. We need your help. Please let us know what type of service you’d be interested in!

Watch God Work,
Tim & Shea

Mark your calendars for October 27, when Pilgrim Congregational UCC will host an extraordinary concert featuring two amazing talents: Andrew Barnes Jamison (keys) and Darnell Ishmel (vocals). The concert begins at 7:30. It will be one of the highlights of the fall!

As we prepare to become a vibrant worshipping community, we invite you to enjoy a Spotify playlist that captures the kind of worship we hope to embrace. Give it a spin while you’re driving. Make it your workout jam. Add it to your devotional time. Most of all, feel yourself becoming part of a sacred village of believers who love their God and one another!
Check out the Gather Worship Playlist here.