Fourth Monday of Advent: Goodness by Design
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
—Revelation 19:9 (Read Revelation 19)
Most people have a favorite food memory, many of which are associated with a holiday meal. My Mom’s baked pineapple, broccoli cheese casserole, and a recently added walnut-sausage stuffing fill my plate on Thanksgiving. But the turkey—a turkey that is raised outside, moved to fresh pasture daily, and fed a non-GMO feed—surpasses them all on my list of favorites.
These are the turkeys we raise at Lamppost Farm.
Each year at Lamppost, a farm in Columbiana, Ohio that uses agriculture to reach and teach others, we raise a flock of 500+ turkeys to sell every November. Knowing that these birds will be the centerpiece of many Thanksgiving tables is humbling. And not only do these turkeys live the highest quality of life and provide a health-restoring option for dinner, but their fullness of flavor by far surpasses anything our culture has accepted as normal.
One bite takes me to places I had once only imagined.
When my wife, Mel, and I started farming, after years doing CCO ministry at Westminster College, we knew that alternative methods of raising animals was necessary to honor God the Creator and His purposes for these creatures. This type of farming allows others to encounter God’s design for cattle eating grass, chickens rummaging pastures for worms, larvae, and bugs, and turkeys foraging grasses and clover leaves like our kids going door to door at Halloween.
Through raising these animals, which eventually are enjoyed around the table, we discovered much more. God created us to eat—not just as utility, but to encounter a relationship with Him. He created us to taste flavors, delight in smells, and enjoy the satisfaction—and naps—that follow a holiday meal.
Encounters like this have been happening since Adam and Eve explored the new-born Creation. I imagine that Adam’s first tour around the Garden of Eden was one to remember. Genesis 1:29 reads, “And God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.’”
Further on, Genesis 2:9 reads, “And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” Adam saw with his eyes the provision of the Lord and knew that it was good, seared into his memory.
How many other encounters with food do we read about in Scripture?
Can we see how God created us to eat food, not only as a means for physical rejuvenation, but also as a daily reminder of our dependence upon His hand as Jehovah Jireh, our provider? Are we able to experience during this holiday season the complexity of flavors, not just as an expression of the cook’s creativity but also as a gift of diversity from our Lord, the Creator?
I imagine that in the great cloud of witnesses, the disciples reminisce about meals with Jesus. Fish prepared over a fire on the shoreline after the Resurrection, eating grain on the Sabbath, turning loaves and fish into a feast for five thousand. And of course, the Redeemer, on the night before He was crucified, offering bread and wine to his disciples and saying, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”
Because of that offering, we will one day sit together at a feast like no one has ever experienced before.
That feast will be a marriage supper, and we will taste the food prepared for us and know, without a doubt, the Goodness of the Lord!
Let our Christmas and all of our holiday feasts until then serve as a reminder and a foreshadowing of that coming event!
—Steve Montgomery is Executive Director of Lamppost Farm in Columbiana, Ohio, and served on CCO staff for 14 years at Westminster College.