Monday, August 25, 2008

Eating Together

Yesterday, in the sermon, I mentioned my experience with a "Roman feast" in college.  The basic premise is that you show up for a big banquet, all dressed in a sheet...and then you find out that the only rules are that you can't bend your elbows in order to eat!  It's quite a feat to drop things into your mouth (especially beverages) until you figure out that the best way to handle it is to feed each other.  I used the Feast as an illustration of working together in community in order to help one another be nourished, especially centering around what that community looks like to Paul in Romans 12:1-21

I could have taken it farther.  And yesterday, as we were toasting (and roasting!) Bishop Mike Lowry in preparation for his leaving, Rev. Virgilio Vasquez-Garza did.  He was talking about Mike as a "companero", which we can translate roughly as a "companion" but literally means "one who eats bread with you."  He described how much this term meant for him--to identify people that he could trust at a time in her life when his life really did depend on who he could trust or not.  

And he said this:  "It is an intimate thing to put food in someone else's mouth."  

Especially having told a story just that morning about this subject, it caught my attention that I had left that part out of the sermon.  I had assumed that kind of trust, and perhaps that was premature on my part.  First you learn to trust...then you learn to taste.  

And I realized that's why some people are a little bit reluctant to come to potlucks in the church.  Figuratively, you really are letting someone else put food in your mouth.  And that is an intimate thing.  I want this for people, but I can't force it.  

Thank you, Virgilio.

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