In the United States of America in November, one can’t think of the month without images of turkey and dressing filling the imagination. We associate the month with sharing a feast of good food with family and friends. Feasting is a word that can convey negative connotations of gluttony, excess, and waste. Yet clearly it doesn’t have to be that way. The Bible calls us to feast and celebrate, and we can do so in a way that is good, healthy, and helps form us into the likeness of Jesus.
One of the images that comes to mind when I think of a good feast is of our Lord in Bethany in John 12. In this instance, Jesus’s friends host a meal in his honor (perhaps out of gratitude for raising Lazarus). There is extravagance; Mary anoints him with expensive perfume. There are dear friends gathered around a meal; we can only imagine there must be laughter and sharing of stories. And we catch a glimpse of more than a bit of controversy.
This sketch of a feast shows us what is important about a good meal that helps form us and is more than formality. A feast worth having is:
– focused (on gratitude, good news, honoring someone, etc.);
– about relationship (it is about who is present);
– out of the ordinary (it is made unique and special by the focus and the company);
– about sharing and celebrating God’s mercy and grace that make our joy complete.
Feasts don’t have to be about perfectly cooked food, the most expensive place settings, or exquisite desserts (although that can be a part); they are about sharing our lives around a common meal and the inherent acknowledgment of God’s presence and provision in our midst.
Will you schedule a feast that looks like Jesus’s meal at Bethany, soon?