Homesick Holy Communion

My daughter was in town this week.  She was here on business and much of the business involved eating out.  That’s her story to tell another time, but I want to tell how her story has blessed me.
Since she was a little girl, my daughter has wanted to publish a book. In elementary school, the students were encouraged to write books, and I have her earliest efforts. After she graduated from college, her occupation always involved writing in some way or another–from working in a children’s book store to being an editor on a magazine.

Two years ago my daughter signed a contract to write her first book, and quit her day job to spend full time writing. Of course I was as proud as I could be, and I spent an inordinate amount of time bragging.  My friends were very patient with me.

I’ve told my daughter that I believe that God’s call on her life was to write about food and fellowship and friends and family.  After all, didn’t Frederick Buencher write,  The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet?  (Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC)

Her book came out this fall and its success is as much as I imagined it would be–and more. Several national periodicals chose it as one of the top ten cookbooks of the year, and yesterday, as she and I were on our way to lunch, she discovered that a the book had been nominated by a prestigious organization for a national award.

What makes my daughter’s book so special is that it contains recipes that remind her of home, friends, and family with accompanying short stories and her own exquisite photographs.  It’s stunning to read, to cook from, and to simply enjoy looking through.

My daughter’s stories of food and home touch a common spot in all of our hearts.  The connection of favorite foods to familiar places with people we love is a universal hunger.  Eating is essential to life–and not only physically but emotionally and spiritually, too.

I suspect that’s why Jesus seemed to always be on his way to and from a meal.  Think eating with tax collectors and sinners.  Think feeding thousands of folk at a time.

I suspect that’s why Jesus chose as his final activity on the night before he died to share a meal with the beloved men who had walked with him as disciples for three or so years.  It’s why he told them to eat the meal again and again to remember him.  It’s why we’re told specifically about the meals he served or ate after his resurrection, and the time that his disciples knew him in the breaking of a loaf of table bread.

We are all hungry for good food with good fellowship.  I believe that hunger is rooted in our hunger for communion with the God of love. I believe that every time we sit with folks we love to eat a meal that Christ is indeed there–whether we ever know it or not.  My daughter’s book reminds me of those common communions.  I believe its success is because it touches others in the same way.  Yes, I am proud of my daughter indeed.

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