One of My Favorite Times of the Year …

Brothers and sisters,

I am excited for the sermon series we’re going to be starting this Sunday. We are moving into one of my favorite times of the year—fall! I really do love just about everything about this season. I love the crispness in the air. I love the return of football. I love the changing colors of the leaves. If I’m honest, I even kind of love how we get a pumpkin-spice version of everything! But perhaps my favorite thing about the fall is the food that comes along with the season. I love making a pot of chili for my friends and inviting them to carve pumpkins with me on Halloween. I love hot coffee on a Saturday morning when it’s cold out and the sun is shining. I love Thanksgiving and the incredible spread of food my mother prepares each year.

What does all this have to do with our upcoming sermon series, though? Over the next seven weeks, we are going to be taking a look at several different passages in the Bible in which food plays a critical role in the story. The Bible is filled with food imagery and stories and visions of meals. Food is a constant presence and a constant source of nourishment and sustenance for God’s people. But why focus on food (other than the fact that we Baptists love to eat!)? I want us to take some time to focus on the food in the Bible because of how basic food really is. Food nourishes our bodies. It gives us strength to meet each day. Food can also nourish our souls. How many of us have a favorite dish, something that just makes us feel good when we eat it? Food nourishes our communities. It brings people together to share a common meal, to share the stories of their lives, to share their culture and their heritage. Food ends up binding us to other people and to the rest of Creation. We are reminded, every time we eat, that we are de-pendent upon the wondrous bounty of God’s Creation to survive. Food reminds us of our place in God’s grander plans.

Finally, perhaps most importantly, food reminds us of the kind of love that God has for us and the kind of love we ought to have for one another. It takes time to prepare a meal for someone else. It takes intention on each of our parts to do that. We have to spend time and money planning the meal and purchasing ingredients. We spend time and effort cleaning, chopping, stirring, seasoning, tasting, seasoning again, and plating. All to let someone know we care about them. And there are so many moments in the scriptures where we see God doing similar things. We will see God break bread and provide for God’s people. We will watch God multiply scant resources in the midst of a drought. We will see God care for people through food and rest. We’ll even catch a glimpse of God’s table and see what the Lord will lay out for all of us one day. All these beautiful images of God, these wonderful under-standings of God’s love and God’s character—they all involve food. I’m looking forward to the next seven weeks. I hope you all will as well!

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben