Posted by: Melissa Bane Sevier | April 9, 2018

What’s for supper?

Luke’s version of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples is both similar to and  different from John’s (that we read last week). Luke brings his own details.

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. [from Luke 24]

“Shalom,” says Jesus, which is sort of a cross between “Peace” and “Hey.” It’s both a meaningful greeting and a casual, everyday one. The friends did not experience it as either meaningful or casual; to them it was terrifying. The dead one is among them, and acting as though nothing weird has happened.

“C’mon, people. Here I am. No, really. Look at my scars. You can touch me and see that I’m not a ghost. It’s okay.” Some of them are starting to come around and then he asks for something to eat. They give him some fish and he eats in “in their presence.” Luke is obviously writing for those who say that the resurrected Jesus was not physical.

What attracts me most, though, is Jesus’ humanness. After three days of being closed up in a tomb, he’s hungry. Who wouldn’t be? When he walks in, his friends are so frightened they forget to show common hospitality. They don’t offer him a place to sit, something to eat and drink, a traditional welcome.

He smells the food and looks over their shoulders while they are backing away from him and crowding around him in equal measure. Finally, in the midst of reassuring them, he can’t wait any longer: “Uh. Do I smell fish?” Someone catches on to his hunger and goes to get him a plate, and they watch him chew and swallow. (Ghosts can’t eat, can they?) As they are assessing him in a more friendly manner, he’s simply having some leftovers. Finally, after nourishment, he’s ready to engage in real conversation.

Spirituality and relationships are so often connected to eating. It makes sense. It makes us human. We talk about “being fed” spiritually, or we call friends and make plans to eat together. Eating is human. Relationships are human. Spirituality is human. Those things are linked by the realities of life. While we cannot exist without food, it’s also true that our existence is deeply impaired if we lack significant relationships or some type of spiritual awareness.

That’s why it’s rare to experience a social gathering without food: because we sense in some elemental way that feeding our bodies feeds our souls and moves our relationships to deeper levels.

We live better when we eat, especially when we eat good things together.

What’s for supper?

© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2018


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