Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 106

FOOD, CULTURE, AND THE ACT OF EATING - Nokar While God who is Life himself allowed food to sustain our life temporarily, he shares his life with us in his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ became man and ate food with us. When he ate with humanity—he shared in the life of humanity. He entered into our pain and took our sins upon himself and died in our stead. Likewise, when we partake of Christ and with Christ, we share in his Life: eternal Life. This sharing of Life with God in Christ extends into how we live our lives in relation to God. When we partake of Christ, sharing in his Life, we have communion with God in him and participate in his mission of reconciling the world to himself. As God’s ambassadors, we will rejoice in what brings joy to God’s heart and grieve over what brings grief to his heart. Behold, what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should participate in his Life and mission! Also, partaking of Christ together as a sharing of life with one another extends into how we live our lives in relation to one another as Christians. When we partake of Christ, we testify that we will share in one another’s joy and suffering. We will care for one another by carrying one another’s burdens and celebrating our blessings together. How beautiful it will be when we profess our participation in Christ and love toward one another through partaking of the Eucharist, and we embody this participation in Christ and love toward one another by truly caring for one another in both word and deed! Ultimately, as we look within the pages of the Bible to the One who created food, we realize that love and relationship is ultimately at the heart of the act of eating and sharing food with one another. In other words, food is bound up with relationship. Food is an instrument to express love. Thus, when God, in his Son, decided to partake of food with humankind and humankind with him, he entered into love relationship with us. When Jesus partook of the Last Supper with his disciples, he initiated a new covenant, that is, a new relationship between God and humankind of which he will be the Mediator (e.g., Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20). When the incarnate God, Jesus Christ, ate with people, he was expressing his love and desire to be in relationship with them. He did not seek them because of what he would gain from them; he loved them for who they were. In today’s world, relationships are formed based on what one can gain out of his or her relationships. We are drawn to people because of what we can gain from being in relationship with them. And we distance ourselves from those who we think can offer us nothing. Oftentimes, we have treated our relationship with Jesus Christ in the same way. We look past the person of Christ and focus on what is there to gain and miss the very person to whom all of Scripture points. Treating our relationships in this manner, we fall into the sin of reducing people into objects that we can use to further ourselves and achieve our goals. We fall into the sin of treating our fellow brothers and 103