|Bread of Life: Feed the Hunger, Fill Your Spirit First.|
Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him. Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall. [NRSV]
Covered Dish… “A dish with the lid glued on to it with the words: “Covered Dish” as an act of hospitality.
Once I visited a Hindu commune as a seminary assignment. We invited in to observe, but they insisted we participate in order to observe. After 16 verses of singing the Hari Krishna mantra, we had to sing and dances in a circle singing it 16 more times. After which a large curtain was pulled back at one end of the room we were gathered, which revealed two dozen colorful life-sized figures of different idols. There in front of them was our dinner. After were we sprinkled with coconut milk and flower petals were listened to the guru speak for hours and then we had to eat.
What are the limits of southern hospitality? We ate, found our shoes and ran to the car. We stopped at the Varsity on the way home got our Chilli dogs, rings and Frost Orange.
Paul has found himself in a community of folks who are worshiping in a different way. He is confronted with being faithful in the context of those who are not like him.
Paul: Troubling statement, that is easy to leave on the buffet of bible verses: Eating Food nor Avoiding Food will neither save nor condemn up.
Remind your neighbor: “The Spirit is not fed with physical food.”
Girl Scout Cookies come when people typically give up on their new years diet resolutions
Faith Restaurant: I have always wanted to start a spiritual restaurant, coffee house. That not only creates jobs for those who would otherwise find is most difficult to get a job and build some work-equity to help transform their. With profit sharing for those who provide the work.
Using food from a community garden and fair-trade partners and local farmers giving strength to the local community.
Preparing food from purchasing, prepping, serving and cleaning through prayer and Christian fellowship.
Not simply closing on Sunday’s and assuming people know why we do so, but being bold in explaining why we might do so.
In addition to the waiters and waitresses there would be people who provided pastoral care from table to table. Praying, listening, encouraging and modeling Christian fellowship with a busy culture that would rather eat bad over priced food in an attempt to satisfy the hunger of their spirit.
Paul takes the stance that he will abstain from eating meat so his witness might include his eating and so there would be confusion if his food was offered to idols or not, he would eat other things. Some folks are vegetarians for diet choices, others do so for support of animals. Paul is not focusing on health of his body neither animals bodies, he is focusing on his spiritual self: letting his faith take priority to his taste buds. Wow! Now, he is NOT fasting, he is witnesses his Spiritual self in a physical body.
Tell you neighbor: “I am a Spiritual person in a physical body.” Repeat..
I don’t like this passage. You know I like my Krispy Kreme; I like meat. Let’s skip this verse and find one about Jesus and the children or Something that assures our salvation, The Christmas story… leave my food alone.
Food Glorious Food – Oliver, the musical, song later used in Ice Age, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Charlottes Web, are variant of the words from the forgotten boys home who are given gruel everyday and they dream of having what rich gentlemen get: indigestion.
Food is a marvelous thing. It is the fuel for our physical bodies. There are so many foods that look good, taste good, smell good, have appealing textures, and satisfy the cravings of our chemistry.
Keep in mind, Paul is not fasting. He is not giving up caring for his physical body. He is not making a political statement. He is not controlling his weight. He is not starving himself.
There are times and places to stretch our spiritual grow and maturity that fasting is appropriate and even necessary, but today Paul is talking about eating.
Scout Can Drive
We are surrounded by people in our communities who do not have enough to eat to nourish their bodies. I remember doing a can drive for our scout troop one year. We placed empty bags with a note attached that stated: “We will be coming to your door tomorrow asking for donations of canned foods. Please fill this bag and leave it on your front door and BSA Troup 314 scouts will deliver your gift to the community pantry where it will help feed our neighbors. It was a very successful method of having people informed with a convenient way to collect a great about of food in a short period of time.
At one house the bag was filled with empty cans and a note. “Where is the community pantry? We are in need of food.
We had enough to share in our homes and guessed that some kids wanting us to take our trash. Our Scoutmaster took us back to this house and invited us in because he said we needed to see this. If it was just a kids joke, we’d invite the fellow to our troop and if they needed food we could see for ourselves. It was a nice home. The yard was plain but kept. We were invited in and the modest size house had almost no furniture. One box of toys and games for three children, and most of the blinds were pulled so the house was rather dark. We went into the kitchen and the scoutmaster asked to see the cupboard and refrigerator: I remember there were pickles, a bottle of formula-milk, olives and an opened quart of milk. The cabinets were empty except for salt, pepper, Texas Pete’s hot sauce and tooth picks.
We went to the truck and skipped the community food bank. We left every can they would eat. We didn’t follow the rules and procedures; we followed our hearts in love of Christ and compassion on those who were hungry.
Missing the Point
We can feed people and think we have this food thing seal up and covered, while all this good, it skirts around this verse: Paul is affirming that it is more important to satisfy our spirit than our body.
Tell your neighbor, “It is more important to satisfy our spirit than our body.”
Tell your neighbor, “I don’t always like that” “I don’t know if that is true.” “What’s for lunch?”
Bottom line: Feed the Spirit First, Feed the stomach second.
How often to do you spend on feeding your body?
Time Working to buy or grow our food
Time and energy gathering and preparing our food
Time and energy eating food
Time and cost of cleaning up from eating?
Money and energy from eating too much or things that don’t build up our bodies?
How much is all that time….
How much time do we devote to being with God and God’s people, on an average day?
Time praying? Studying the bible? Singing, worshiping?
Fellow-shipping, Serving and encouraging others in the faith?
Who is starving their Spirit?
Let’s make a commitment to God and one another to encourage one another.
Let’s use technology to remind us to prayer, serve and love
Let’s make an intentional effort to feed one another as well as ourselves.
Let’s eat, I don’t know about you, I’m hungry.
Feed my spirit, Fill my heart. Satisfy my cravings. Make me whole. Amen.