Food tastes better when you can say hi

Jesus feeds people. He feeds huge crowds with five fish and two loaves of bread. He gives living water that causes people to thirst no more. He tells us that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood has eternal life. Jesus eats with people that no one else will. The professional religious power brokers want to know, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum (Luke 5:30 NLT)?” The Community Dinner Church likes to invite the disinherited to dinner. We like to gather with people who have found themselves excluded from other communities. “God sets the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land (Psalm 68:6).” When I discuss the stories of Christ with people at the Dinner Church, I find people who are interested in the everlasting food of the Gospel. Marty shares with me that he isn’t religious or a Christian, but the words I share about Christ always move him to tears. He tells me that he thinks about the Gospel stories all week long. The Dinner Church is his community. Pastors from various denominations come to visit the Dinner Church and want to know, “how does the Dinner Church disciple people?” Even after hearing Marty’s experience and witnessing healing prayer in the middle of a meal, people who identify as “from the church”, are not convinced. How can the sacred happen with mashed potatoes, body odor, and the wet feet of homeless people? How will peoples lives be transformed by Jesus if a pastor doesn’t explain the “right way” to follow him. I find that it is the religiously experienced that miss the real meal of Christ. The broken body of Jesus is shared not taught. When we avoid the suffering of others, we find ourselves living a parched, hangry life, absent of freedom and joy. The sun-scorched land of rebellion happens when the church doesn’t care for the poor. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me (Matthew 25:34-36).”

Last week, I visited a new Dinner Church that some friends of mine have planted. They are having great success welcoming and serving the neighborhood in the name of Jesus. One gentleman wanted me to pray that he could spend more time with his mom. I talked about cartoons with another man that was not wearing any socks or shoes. When I told him that I wished I had socks to give him he said, “Being barefoot is how I stay cool!” I sat with a man on a bench who was enjoying the meal. After a while we realized that he had been a longtime guest of one of the very first Dinner Churches in Seattle. He was delighted to know that the food was being prepared by the same cook. He asked if he could bring a meal to his friend that was bed ridden and dying of cancer. I threw his garbage away while he got a meal for his friend. As he was leaving, he thanked me and said, “food tastes better when you can say hi!” The presence of God is delicious. “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him (Psalm 34:8).”

Michael Cox

One thought on “Food tastes better when you can say hi

  1. cahillrn says:

    Thank you for your ministry. You are doing amazing work. Being/Meeting with people where they are at; that is a very special gift God our Father has given you. Bless you and what you are doing and thank you. Prayers, lots of prayers for you and your ministry and the people you serve. Carole Hill

    Sent from my iPhone

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