Proof of Presence

I love good food. I love small plates of fine foods and big bowls of pasta. I love the unctuousness of quality EVOO, the richness of salted butter on homemade bread, the cold familiarity of ripe watermelon, and the bite of lime squeezed over a taco. I love food.

But … though this doesn’t happen often, I find myself totally out of sorts when I’m eating alone. Whether Austin is at an elders meeting or traveling for the weekend, I find myself uninterested in sitting down for a meal. When he’s absent, I’m completely unmotivated to make a complete meal, and often opt for boxed Mac n cheese or a handful of grapes.

Austin and I are currently preparing a study through the book of Acts. There are so many things to love about the book of Acts — it’s post resurrection, the disciples are bewildered, everything is happening (and, yet, the disciples think nothing is). The disciples ask good questions about when the Kingdom of God is coming in full form, and Jesus promises them that His plan is better than they could ever imagine.

And during this time, Jesus does something crazy (okay, seemingly crazy). He sits down and eats with them. In His resurrected body, Jesus sits and breaks bread with His friends in a familiar way to assure them that He’s really risen from the dead. Though His resurrected stomach wasn’t growling with hunger, He sits down to eat a meal with them to reassure them: He’s really alive, He’s really with them, it’s all really true.

When we look ahead to the new heavens and new earth, the book of Revelation reminds us that it will be a feast. But our resurrected bodies, like Christ’s, are going to grumble with hunger. They won’t grow famished, and no bellies will swell with starvation. So, what’s the point of food? What’s the purpose of the feast?

To remind us that it’s all true. To remind that Jesus has really risen from the dead. To assure that we are really, actually, truly sitting at a table in the presence of Christ. We eat not out of need, but out of celebration of Jesus’ unhindered presence among us. The food, in a way, is proof of presence.

No longer separated from the One we love, we will fill our mouths with the best food. Maybe the best EVOO, the saltiest, creamiest butter, or the coldest, ripest watermelon. We will feast — not on a handful of grapes — but on the best wine (the kind reserved for wedding feasts) precisely because we are finally, fully Home.

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