My friend Marisol, from Mexico, made me my first real taco the summer after I graduated from high school. I thought I had eaten tacos before, but this beautiful, golden, fried delight was a revelation.
My family used to have dinner at least once a week with the young men who rented our basement apartment. One week Kaz, a graduate student from Japan, cooked us what he called “Japanese pizza.” I remember that my children were not impressed. And I remember feeling grateful that they were able to experience this small taste of another culture—grateful that someone had come to us from the east, and we were eating together.
Last year my family was invited to a Ramadan fast-breaking meal at the local Islamic Center. We learned a bit about the Islamic faith, witnessed prayers, and then we were given a plate and sent down the line to load up with some of the best food I have ever eaten.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus doesn’t just say that “people will come from east and west, from north and south” to the kingdom of God, but that all of the people will eat together in the kingdom of God. Food is both universal and particular: universal because everyone needs it to survive; particular because what we eat and how we eat it says a lot about who we are as individuals and about the culture(s) of which we are a part.
It is no mere coincidence that Jesus so often speaks of shared meals in relationship to the kingdom of God. If Jesus were speaking in new parables today, I can imagine he might say: “The kingdom of God is like a taco truck, drawing all who hunger together to share in a most delicious meal.”
Rev. Joanna Harader is a mother, a Mennonite pastor, living in the awesome town of Lawrence, Kansas. She enjoy pastoring, preaching, reading, creating art, crafting worship, praying, napping, facilitating retreats, thinking random thoughts, and writing about everything.
Dear Friends of Central, as we observe this joyous season of Advent and then Christmastide, we give thanks that Jesus draws the whole world together. God has called Central to be a place where north and south, east and west, come together as the one Body of Christ to learn how the Gospel takes root in different cultures.
I ask you to give generously as the year-end draws near. Each day I give thanks for your participation in the world-wide mission of Central. — Molly T. Marshall