Travelling through the romantic landscapes of Tuscany a few years ago, the amazing little town of Lucca was a pleasant revelation. As I walked around its historic vias and piazzas I was met with a festival. It was a “Slow Food Festival”. The festival held the dual purpose of celebrating the region’s local produce while encouraging people to take some time to buy, prepare and enjoy some delicious food with their favourite people. It was a celebration of life. And I wish I could have stayed longer!
The Slow Food Society was born as a reaction against fast food McDonaldsization. Local food. Quality food. Good food. Food, enjoyed slowly with friends as a celebration of life not just as a utility for the body. The society began locally and was taken up globally. And I love it! If I didn’t have a cause in the Gospel, slow food would be my cause. Why?
Because for me some of the greatest joy in my life is preparing fine food, or being served fine food, and enjoying it with my family, with friends, with guests and even strangers. To me that is the fat of life.
However there is more to it than that. There are some weighty theological reasons why believers should fully embrace the values of Slow Food. To put it briefly, Jesus used food for all the following:
- To communicate the depth of his love on the Cross (at the last supper)
- To celebrate the story of God, and his people’s history, culture and heritage (at every Jewish festival)
- To demonstrate the faithfulness of his love – even to an enemy (Judas at the last supper)
- To celebrate his resurrection (in a locked room and cooking a barby on the beach)
- To communicate grace and acceptance (eating with Zaccheus)
- To enter the world of others (such as Jesus with Zaccheus and in his instructions to the Twelve and the Seventy-Two)
- To symbolise the love and life of heaven (Revelation 3.20)
- To remember the greatness and mercy of God in history and invite it today (The Passover)
- To impact the spiritual health of others (the man with demonised son in Mark 9)
- Daniel’s use of food had the power to move angels and demons.
- An angel used food to restore the strength of Elijah
- And many, many times the sharing of food was the context of Jesus’ teaching.
Ruminate on that list for a moment! Communicating love, grace, welcome and acceptance, impacting the spiritual health of others, remembering the greatness of God, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Aspects of Slow Food are essential to all the above. To put it simply if we are not eating slowly, choosing deliberately and thoughtfully our foods, family, friends, guests and strangers, then we are doing none of the things on that list in the way that Jesus taught.Now there’s something to chew on!