As I was using a church cookbook recently, I remembered the running joke about how church people love to get together and eat. The way in which relationships are strengthened through sharing time and food with one another is priceless. The act of giving and receiving food can feed us physically and spiritually.
Christian fellowship has a history of including, as a faith practice, the offering and sharing of food. Acts 2:42 informs us the following about the earliest believers: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers.”
As the earliest congregations took shape, many believers would bring with them food as an offering each time they gathered. From that offering, a portion of the food would be used to break bread together. Those assembled would remember Jesus’ presence as he had taught the disciples (Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, and Luke 22:14-23).
Following their time together, believers would go out and give, distributing physical food and Christian care to others. The understanding that we are blessed to receive from Christ, and, in turn, we are to share what we have received with others remains a feature of Christian life.
Several years ago, a youth in our congregation, First Presbyterian Church, planned and constructed the Blessing Box as his Boy Scout Eagle Project. Located on our front lawn at 202 N. Miami Ave., many may notice it as they walk down the sidewalk or park in front of the church on visits to the Amos Memorial Public Library.
Although located on church property and supported by church members, the Blessing Box does not really belong to us. It belongs to the Lord. We are stewards. Without needing a formal invitation, neighbors have joined the effort by embracing the Blessing Box as a collection point where they may also give joyfully. This sharing increases the availability of food and other helpful items. Anyone may visit the box to give or to receive.
Due to inflation, and the upcoming conclusion of the temporary Covid-19 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) allotments, groups and organizations involved in the alleviation of hunger anticipate that many will face additional hardship as they seek daily bread. It is my prayer that those who are able will decide to support, or increase their support, of blessing boxes, food pantries, soup kitchens, and food distribution organizations during this time. To locate places to give or to receive, consider contacting Shelby County 211 by dialing 2-1-1. May the act of giving and receiving strengthen the community of Sidney and Shelby County.
The writer is the pastor of Sidney First Presbyterian Church.