I was hungry, and you gave me food. –Matthew 25:35
Considering the fact that the Christian faith constantly points toward the world of spirit and the afterlife, Jesus was remarkably concerned with meeting the basic needs of the body and making sure His followers did likewise. The reason for this isn’t immediately obvious, but it becomes so as soon as we actually practice the art of giving food to a hungry person simply for the joy of it. The transaction very quickly becomes about so much more than just food. This is the basis of Grace Cathedral’s 8-year-old ministry known as Dinner with Grace. At least twice every month, volunteers from the Cathedral’s congregation, schools and yoga community combine with others from local colleges and universities and the wider San Francisco community to prepare and share a meal which is then brought down and shared again at a nearby residence hotel for individuals transitioning out of homelessness. Participants never fail to be surprised by just how much the simple sharing of a meal can do. Relationships across lines of class, race, religion and so many other categories that often keep us separate are formed in an instant, and fear and animosity dissolve. Rich and poor, black and white, churchgoer and agnostic, all begin to see one another in a new light, and it all begins with the simple act of feeding hungry bodies.