Fully, Properly Fed
Tim: There are so many feast stories in the Gospels.
Shea: The first thing that comes to mind is the large number of feasting parables. Stories about feasts, preparing for feasts, who gets invited, and how guests behave. Jesus talks about banquets because that was his world. Apart from the parables, nearly every time Jesus steps indoors he’s at a feast of some kind.
Tim: That’s tough for a lot of folks to accept. Jesus was quite the partygoer. He eats with the tightly wound religious set one day and then he upsets them when they see him hanging with folks they regard as “sinners.”
Shea: Jesus’s eagerness to accept any and every invitation caused many folks to view him as a libertine and radical.
Tim: If we were seeing Jesus in a contemporary setting, he’d cover the social landscape, from fancy black-tie events to house parties. It’s not like he’s a social climber, leaving old friends behind to worm his way into the jet set. But he was a social butterfly. He went wherever he wanted to go and took his posse with him. That was radical.
Shea: In Jesus’s day, classes and genders didn’t mix at banquets. Ethnic groups tended to hang together, although the hospitality ethic sometimes required inviting a foreigner into one’s home. There were all kinds of rules and customs in place to keep everyone segregated.
Tim: Just like today. While it’s got a whole lot better, there are still a lot of places I wouldn’t be comfortable walking into, even if I was invited. That’s not only because I would be concerned about not being welcomed. I wouldn’t know how to behave or what to eat.
Shea: It’s the old joke about not knowing what fork to use. It was no better in Jesus’s day, even though they ate with their hands. There were all these subtleties: where you sat, how you dressed, who poured the wine, who washed guests’ hands and feet, what was on the menu. First-century readers caught these nuances and saw what was really going on around the table. It’s a little tougher for us. Without the background info, we’re not getting fully, properly fed when we read the feast stories. That’s what we’ll be looking at this Thursday.
Tim: I couldn’t have set it up better. This week is all about menus and etiquette and social demands, and how all of that became powerful material for Jesus to show us a better way of being.
Join us this Thursday, as we continue our study series, “Feast!” in the Chapel of Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake Street in Oak Park (Green Line: Ridgeland). 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
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.