I do not think it is possible to attend a church and not have encountered a drama generated as a result of food. In short, even when we read the story about the beginnings of the church, the first thing that caused trouble was food and its distribution.
Growing up, I went to a church who took food seriously and any time we did anything, there was always food. This was especially pronounced on harvest Sundays /All manner of food was present in abundance and even to take home. The good thing about the church I attended before my first decade ended was that my mum was the “mother of church “. This meant that we the children were also specially taken care of.
And I thought it was so everywhere till we got to the next church I attended. We suddenly had to move house when my mum travelled and found ourselves in a new location. We attended several churches trying to find just that right church until we settled in one, You can imagine getting to know that the next Sunday in that church would be a harvest Sunday.
I advised my brothers and I think we all went prepared but were sorely disappointed as no food was served. I could not believe it. In short, people came for the harvest with only a brown envelope. It took a while to understand why that church was not hospitable in the light I knew. But I am glad to say that when my mum joined us there eventually, over the years, the culture changed and they started serving food on harvest Sundays.
And what actually brought me there ? Well it is because I remembered that in my first church , as much as we ate , we also were taught to fast . In short , before the institution of the monthly environmental sanitation Saturday those days, there was a fast held for all the children every last Saturday. This was a good time to meet all your friends in church but it was also a time to see all sorts of crying. The fast lasted till 12 noon and there were usually light refreshments after, but as children, we were all required to be in church and observe that time of prayer and fasting. I look back at those days and I am extremely grateful that my parents made sure we participated in those exercises. I have known some adults who will not function well without breakfast.
Well, it was not only the children that fasted, the adults also did. But there were a set of adults who were given to prayer and fasting. These were the ones in the Prayer band team. And sometimes, they could go on for 3 days without eating.
So this my story goes thus. Usually, you can imagine how weak you can be, doing that kind of fasting. Some of the members of the team however used it as a time to flaunt their spiritual prowess and would be seen actively involved in the prayer with a lot of gymnastics. There was this brother who was particularly agile and appeared to be very strong. One day during one of those fasts, he was jumping as usual and then suddenly vomited. Reports had it that the contents were fresh eba and soup, leaving most of the team members amused and shocked! So please there is no need to be acting like you are fasting because it is best to be your authentic self and you do not need fasting to convince God to answer.
But food is a universal languaguge of acceptance and welcome and as a church, we harness the power of food especially when it comes to visitors. Most churches serve refreshments to all visitors and for some churches, this hospitality is extended to those who also answered an altar call to either dedicate or rededicate their lives to God.
So, we had this neighbour whose church also practised the latter form of extended hospitality. One day, I heard her confess to my mum that she had been going out every Sunday once the altar call was made. She confessed that she did this so as to enjoy a bottle of soft drink and other light refreshments. She did it for quite a number of times and one day, the Pastor was like Madam, I think you have given your life to Jesus before and she replied “No, Jesus never enter well well “
I laughed so hard but you see, that is the role that food can play in a church
See food is important. It was what caused Esau his birthright and forever generations still refer to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac &Jacob.
And it was just something temporary that made Esau miss out. Sometimes some of the quarrels I have seen in church has been as a result of food, my children were not served, I was not served well etc. I think it is best to always eat before going for a function or perhaps keep your mind prepared just in case you have to leave unfed.
Please don’t let food damage your relationships at church, remember you have your own kitchen in your home. Give us this day our daily bread is not an obligation for the food served in church.