Happy harvest thanksgiving everyone.
We had our thanksgiving day on Friday, and there was a moment when Lauren, my wife, said can you pass me some butter, as her hands were both elbow deep in side the turkey skin; that I thought about this reading from the Gospel today thinking, you know what, I love Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving because we spend all day in the kitchen cooking food, lovingly preparing all that we eat. And it is at these times, when I actually feel more connected to food that I eat. Combining flavours, getting stuck touching the food that I’m about to eat.
Today, in our distracted and busy lives, we have changed the way that we think about food. We have been using those meal prep kits that have everything you need to cook with, all the measured out ingredients and spices. We love it. Day to day, hey I’m a better cook, who knew? No I’m not bad at cooking really. But they save time, we throw away less food, they come in reusable containers now, it saves multiple trips to the grocery store each week. I’m very happy with it.
The demand for convenience is changing the way that we live our lives and changing our economy. Many of us order food and even groceries online delivered to us without much thought.
Considering our lives now, the Gospel feels very much rooted in its day for this thanksgiving reading from Matthew.Jesus says don’t worry about food, don’t worry about needing to drink, or clothes.Look to the birds and the flowers who do not worry about such things.
This hits a little different. Where did all the bees go? Where did the fish go? Why are forests burning? In the day of Jesus, the toil of labouring the soil, fishing, harvesting and collecting the grain, it was a seasonal, collective, both family and community effort. There was a rhythm of life and survival that was entrenched in the minds of those that lived. What this meant was that there was a need to teach about becoming more humble about one’s perspective on the source of provision.
That seems far removed from our culture where so many of us that live in the city have such little connection to the source of our food.
Our consideration for the birds and the flowers has been dominated by a naive self given authority in recent decades. That consideration we have relegated to a conscience of wanting to control and ‘steward’ creation, whilst the system that we live in perpetuates its demise. What we have seen as success in creation’s flourishing. Is when we leave it alone. Giving it space and time to allow itself to rejuvenate.
We have learned this time and again, where we protect areas from human development, nature thrives, always more quickly and more plentifully than we imagined.Part of what is being said by Jesus in Matthew, is that no matter what as humans are able to build or make, eat or clothe ourselves with; God’s creation surpasses ours. That is an important and humbling fact, and when our progress is sculpted by science in consideration of creation, then that progress is beneficial for us in our living.
As me and friends gathered around the thanksgiving table, we reminisced, some of us of stories of times in France with the family where the meal starts in the morning and you eat and share stories into the night.
These told like romanticized nostalgia like we could never actually do that here more than a couple of times a year. Our lives are just too busy.We have this children book called ‘sleeping with bread, holding what gives you life’ by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn.
The beautifully told story shares a grandma’s tale of teaching her grandchild of when she was escaping a war torn country and she was in an orphanage and was fearful that every meal would be her last. This fear was relieved by those in the orphanage giving the children a loaf of bread to sleep with, so that they wouldn’t fear that they wouldn’t have any food for the morning. When baking bread together, the Grandma then talked of food bread, and heart bread.Because food alone is not enough, but the companionship that accompanies food is,It says preparing the food together is food that doesn’t just feed the body, it feeds the soul. It feeds our need for companionship, family and community.This story is one that our ministry here at the Cathedral with the Maundy Cafe is all about.
The idea of food justice, that all deserve access in this day and in this city to good quality food with fresh ingredients. And that our aim is not just simply to give food away to those who are hungry for the sake of feeding their bodies. But by being together, working with each other, through the network of volunteers, and those who are a part of the community, we are feeding people’s need for being together. United by a common understanding and a common table.In the Eurcharist, we will be fed in the same way together. That is the meal that we are called to in this place. One of an indiscriminate and accepting nature. That nourishes not just the body, but also the soul. This practice is the heart of our Christian identity and it is the means by which we learn and grow together in the presence of God.
You can take part in this through your offering to the Cathedral’s ministry. Through presence and presents we do this. Remembering that Thankfulness is understanding the connectedness of our place and action. It is thinking of where the food on our plates came from, the creativity and the passion of those in the kitchen who prepare it. It is knowing that other people have believed in you, sacrificed their own desires to invest their love, time, and money in you. It is appreciating the things that we have, the air that we breathe, the place where we live, and where we call home, knowing that we are blessed to be doing so.
We share together, we live together, we thrive together.