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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Food, Thanksgiving, and Detroit, Michigan

Did you know the city of Detroit has no grocery store chains or big-box stores that sell groceries? ZERO! (see the on-line magazine Guernica, August 2009 for details of a new use for a city.) Detroit has about 300,000 people, and they are no more closer to a grocery store than the folks in a town like Dar Es Salaam. In other words, if you live in Detroit, you might as well be in a third world country. (But a country that would have a world champion professional hockey team, as well as three other professional sports teams, and be the home to one of the largest employers in the world--GM.) But you wouldn't have a grocery store nearby.

When you think of places that don't have food for thanksgiving, do you think of Detroit, Michigan, USA? When you think of places that don't have enough quality food (like fresh meats and vegetables) are you thinking of the neighborhoods around the Joe Lewis arena? I know I don't. I remember when we lived on the south side of Chicago, and we would drive 10 miles one way to get to a grocery store. (We had local coops and such, but gas was cheaper than milk in those days, and money was scarce.) But at least we had a grocery store. I'm not sure I can wrap my mind around something like this. Detroit? No grocery stores? Really?

Food is important, and at Prairie Table, as our name implies, food is what gathers us. The celestial food of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, but such a food only makes sense if the food that nourishes our bodies is part of the equation. Jesus of Nazareth spent a lot of his time feeding people, and of the stories we have about him the food ones are some of the most memorable. Once, for example, he fed 5000 men, plus the women and children, when all he and his friends had to share was five loaves of bread and a couple of dried fish. We're not sure how everyone "was satisfied" as the story goes, but I'm willing to bet it involved someone sharing something somewhere somehow. Maybe that's why we give thanks to God this time of year, not because we have stuff, but because God shared with us the food and drink of life: God's own son. And that's true even for the folks in Detroit, although with no grocery stores nearby, I wouldn't blame them if such a gift is tough to receive.

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