You are what you eat

Ethical eating

Becoming so globally connected over the last couple of decades has provided an insight into the way the world works, it has allowed us to be immersed in other cultures, make friends from different lands, experience technology at its best. It also means we witness the effects of our actions, the pain and suffering they can cause, the poverty born out of our consumerist ways.

It’s time to use this opportunity to change our habits, to make more ethical choices so that others don’t suffer because of us. We are part of a generation that is becoming increasingly aware of our food and where it comes from – is it Fairtrade? Is it locally sourced? Can I go without eating meat this week? They may seem like small things but if enough people join in we can create a ripple effect big enough to effect change.

‘This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.’ (1 John 16-18.) If our heart for Jesus is true then we will reflect that in our everyday actions and deeds, we can turn our weekly food shop into an avenue of worship.

Love through hospitality

Food can sometimes seem insignificant but it holds great power, it can bring people together in an ambience of friendship and community; it reaches out to loved ones and strangers alike. In the gospels it describes how Jesus came ‘eating and drinking’ (Luke 7:34); He spent a lot of time sharing his meals, not just with his disciples and followers, but with the outcasts of society, the ‘sinners’, and taxpayers. So much importance is placed on these times of gathering, Jesus uses these moments to teach powerful messages on acceptance and compassion, ‘Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32). He wants us to invite the broken and less fortunate into our homes so that we become equals, so that we can create relationships with those from all around society, no matter their background. By giving food i.e. through aid and food banks, we can risk becoming superior, by sharing in our food, inviting people into our homes, we can become friends.

And, of course, food is at the heart of Jesus’ life: ‘While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26- 29). In the most important moment of his life, Jesus expresses his message within a meal. By eating the bread and drinking the wine we are connecting with this very moment, remembering that our salvation came through his sacrifice.

We should therefore imitate Jesus in our daily deeds, through small sacrifices, and an easy place to start could be in our mealtimes.Think about your favourite foods – sweet mangos, crisp tomatoes, succulent chicken – these are more than just sustenance, they are gifts for us to enjoy, an expression of God’s generosity, an opportunity to revel in His grace, and who wouldn’t want to share that?

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