Devotional: Applying the Bible to my today.
By Gabrielle Green
My primary focus during my time at seminary has been feasts. Yep, feasts. Eating and celebrating are my two favorite things and they are all over both the Old Testament and New Testament! So, let’s take a brief look at feasting and explore how it is both relevant and indispensable to today’s Christianity.
The Israelites knew how to party. In fact, the book of Leviticus mentions several of them: The Sabbath, Passover, the Festival of Unleavened Bread, Offering the First fruits, the Festival of Weeks, the Festival of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and the Festival of Tabernacles. There are some more not mentioned here, but you get the idea; the Israelites knew how to party. That is several feasts in a year! Most of the festivals included putting work aside, offering an act of worship and lots of fellowship. The most interesting aspect about all of these feasts is that they were mandated by the LORD. God created and commanded these feasts for the Israelites. Why? Hold your horses. We will figure that out in a moment. But for now, take note that the Lord created feasts for His people.
Keep in mind that many of the first Christians were Jewish, so they maintained the traditions of their fathers while switching things up a bit. The Festival of Weeks became remembered as Pentecost. Some added feasts included: The Agape Feast/Eucharist, Easter celebrations, Holy Week and weekly gatherings. The early Christians loved feasts! Almost every book in the New Testament mentions eating, because Christians did a lot of it!
Okay, so the people of God love to feast and God loves for His people to feast. Why?
A few reasons:
- Feasts were a time to pause. All feasts required for God’s people to put their work aside and be fully present.
- Feasts brought joy. There is togetherness, fellowship and a deep bond amongst all who attend. Feasts were a time of renewal, rejuvenation and celebration.
- Feasts were multi-generational. There was no “kid table” at the feasts. No, everyone would gather together to tell stories of Jehovah. The older generation taught the younger generations the ways of the Lord, so that they might be passed on.
- Feasts were reminders of God’s character. They were so integral to the life of the Jew/early Christian because they were reminders of the goodness, abundance and freedom that is found in the Lord. One didn’t need to have wealth to enjoy the richness of the God of Feasts.
- Feasts were reminders of what Jehovah had done already. The history of God’s people is filled with persecution, enslavement and suffering, but it is also a history of God’s faithfulness, lovingkindness and liberation.
- Feasts foreshadowed the Great Feast that shall take place when the Bride of Christ is reunited with her Bridegroom. In that feast, there will be no more broken families, anxiety, financial burdens, disease or tears. There will only be joy and celebration, and the feasts of God point to that Great and Glorious Feast.
Feasting was crucial to the identity of God’s people, in both the Old and New Testament, so should we not make it a priority to feast as well? I don’t know about you, but if God asks me to have a feast, I’m having a FEAST. Let’s eat and celebrate together. Let’s remember, eat and drink together. Let’s live, laugh, and love together (okay, I couldn’t help myself).
But seriously, don’t let this season of isolation prevent you from reveling in what God has created: feasts.
Ideas on How to Feast While practicing Social Distancing:
- Throw a dinner party via Zoom! Invite some friends to “feast” with you at a specific day/time. Maybe you all dress up. Maybe you do a theme night that includes everyone cooking a specific cuisine (Mexican, Italian, Chinese, et cetera). Distance dinner parties are a really fun way to feast while in quarantine!
- Have a special family feast. If you live with anyone, gather them up for a special dinner. Tell them to come prepared with their favorite Bible story. While you eat, have each person share their favorite Bible story. Not just the name of the Bible story, but have each person narrate the Bible story as if no one had ever heard it. This would be very similar to what the Israelites would do at their feasts.
- Host a “Tea Time”. You can do this via Zoom or with those who are in your house. Make or buy a bunch of tasty goodies and have everyone talk about how they have seen God’s character during this season.
- Pack or buy lunch and meet someone in your town. Stay in your cars at least 6 feet apart. Open your doors and windows and pray together. Blast a worship song on your radio and spend time eating and praising God with another person.
-Follow CDC guidelines in any “feasting.”
-Don’t fall into the “sacred/secular” trap. Don’t feel like you just have to talk about “spiritual” stuff during your feasting. God can be glorified in all things as long as they are in accordance with His scriptures, and fellowshipping with others is definitely biblical.
-Try to go outside of your box of usual friends and invite some people that you normally wouldn’t. You’d be amazed by how a meal and conversation will bring people together.
Gabrielle Green is the Worship Arts Minister at Highland Park Christian Church in Tulsa, OK. Connect with Gabrielle on her blog, Living Rescue, where she provides inspirational and practical insights for biblical living.