There are many New Testament incidents that are concerned with food, the most famous being the Last Supper - from which Holy Communion is derived. Food therefore has an important role to play in Christianity, not just as pure sustenance to keep us alive, but with a deeper significance. Food is about God's gifts, his abundance to us, and gives us the chance to thank God for these gifts. In other words, food can form a liturgy all of its own as we express our gratitude, not just for what we eat, but with whom we eat - in other words, hospitality - which is another important Christian tradition (I was a stranger and you welcomed me - Mt 25:35). The author has an interest in hospitality, particularly in relation to meals, and has lectured extensively on the subject. He considers meals and hospitality from the perspective of different Christian denominations, as well as interviews with congregational leaders in places where meals are already being effectively integrated with mission.
John Koenig is Sub-Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of New Testament at the General Theological Seminary, New York. He is the author of Rediscovering New Testament Prayer: Boldness and Blessing in the Name of Jesus (Morehouse) and The Feast of the World's Redemption (Trinity).