i just finished a book called “searching for sunday” by rachel held evans. in it she describes her search for the right fit of a church/religion. overall, i liked the book and could relate to it more often than not, even though she was pretty adamant in her beliefs 99% of the time and was just having problems finding the right place to celebrate them.
however, i had a problem with exactly one sentence during her section on “communion”. (she titled her sections after the sacraments.)
Certainly nonbelievers can care for one another and make one another food. But it is Christians who recognize this act as sacrament, as holy.
that’s quite a presumptuous statement, ms. held-evans.
even nonbelievers can recognize the importance of food. food is a universal, a common thread among all people, no matter religion, race, or creed. it is the very stuff of life, quite literally, and for anyone to not understand that food, whether created for others out of need or care or for yourself to stave off hunger for another six hours, is a necessary and fundamental part of life and one to celebrate, is pretty ludicrous.
when i make food for others, i know that i’m participating in creating a building block of life – and those who receive it and eat it are receiving it with thanks and gratitude. a great thing; a wonderful thing; a meaningful thing.
one definition of sacrament is “a thing of mysterious and sacred significance.” i think everyone can agree that giving food to others in times of need is a thing of significance, and as a person who just went through a pretty weird tragedy, can be a thing of mystery. does “sacred” necessarily need to be a part of it? sacred is 100% tied to religion, but things of mystery and significance can hold dear spots in people’s hearts without being tied to a religion or specific god.
holy’s definition is pretty straightforward: “dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose.” take out the god and religion, and we have “dedicated or consecrated to a purpose.” what better way to describe preparing food for others? especially when preparing food for others during extreme times – times of joy, sadness, hopelessness, hunger.
rachel can believe what she wants to about food as a thing of mystery and significance – a thing dedicated or consecrated to a purpose. but i’ll tell youthis: nonbelievers and believers alike can understand the importance of food and how it’s tied to emotion. i’ll sit at the table, pull up a chair, and share my food with those who need it, even if they believe I can’t see the importance of what i’m doing.