As humans, we hunger for so many things. We hunger to know and be known. We hunger for others to accept, to understand, to embrace us. We hunger for a life with meaning and purpose and beauty and joy, connection and laughter.
One of the places where I see God meet these desires time and time again is around the table—both in the food we eat and the company we keep.
Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
So I decided to take that invitation literally.
I embarked on a spiritual adventure that led me to fish on the Galilee, descend 420 feet into a salt mine, harvest olives on a remote island in Croatia, study under a premier fig farmer, bake matza in under 18 minutes with an expert on ancient grains at Yale University, and graduate from a Steakology 101 class from a butcher known as “the meat apostle.”
I asked one question to each person, “How do you read the Scriptures, in light of what you do every day?”
Their answers changed the way I read the Bible forever… and shifted the way I approach every meal.
This extraordinary culinary and travel exploration of Scripture left my mouth gaping at the wonders of God in the most minute details of the food we eat. I describe these adventures in Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers. But behind the scenes, it also deepened my hunger to experience life-changing relationships around the table.
The journey caused me to begin playing with the language I use in order to create a safe space to engage in spiritual conversations more intentionally.
I’ve been stumbling forward, slowly finding a way.
I no longer wait for people to gather around a table to pray for the meal.
I start in the morning, much earlier in the day.
Asking God to grace us with His presence, surprise us in delicious ways. This raises the level of expectation for how God might want to break in as we break bread.
As dishes of roasted vegetables and grilled meats circle the table, the conversation naturally unfolds around the common questions—work updates, kiddo accomplishments, how couples met, latest travels.
But somewhere during the gathering, I slip in my new favorite question:
Where do you most see the divine or God or the Holy Spirit working in your life right now?
People answer in a myriad of ways. They share from their work, their studies, their families, their pasts. Some interpret the question as one of where they sense God’s presence; others interpret the question as one of calling.
As we circle the table talking about the Holy Spirit, more often than not, it’s almost as if the Spirit pulls up a chair and He leans in on the conversation rapt with every word. By the time each person shares, a sense of connection with God and each other rests around the table.
This question has renewed my anticipation for gathering around the table with new people, soon-to-be-friends. Perhaps because I’m inviting the guest Who really wants to be there the most.
When the Holy Spirit graces our tables with His presence, we are satiated in ways we never knew possible.
God is the One whose presence we feast on.
God is the One who invites us to dine with Him.
God is the One who sews hearts together.
Will you begin inviting the Holy Spirit to your next meal?
Long before the food touches the cutting board or emerges from the oven. Long before the guests arrive or the server takes your order. Long before you take your first bite.
Will you ask those you eat with where they sense God or the Holy Spirit working in their life right now?
It may feel strange or awkward at first, but with a little practice, you may discover yourself feasting on God, not just good food together.
*Excerpt taken from Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers
One of America’s beloved authors and teachers, Margaret Feinberg is a best-selling author and host of the popular “The Joycast” podcast. Her latest release, Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers is a book and 6-session DVD Bible study designed to help readers experience deeper connections around the table, discover the life-giving power of the simplest ingredients, and experience the satisfying and fruitful life they’re created for. The best part is that you can invite anyone—whether they believe in God or not—to read and study. Because who doesn’t want to get together, eat some delish snacks, and talk about food and spirituality? Follow along with Margaret @mafeinberg.