…the whole congregation shall offer one young bull for a burnt offering, a pleasing odor to the LORD, together with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one male goat for a sin offering. + Numbers 15:17-26
Should you go to Bolivia one day, and should you be lucky enough to share a bowl of chicha - homemade corn liquor - with a local, she will insist that you each toss a splash on the ground first. You will learn that you just made an offering to the Pacha Mama, the earth mother.
Sacrificial offerings like this, or the ones described in the Book of Numbers, can seem like they reflect an old-fashioned view of a God that eats like humans or needs blood to wash away guilt.
But perhaps the impulse to sacrifice to the gods comes from another place in us: the one that loves to eat, and that wants to share our sustenance with those we love. Maybe sacrificing to deities is sort of like inviting God over for dinner.
Every time the presider at Communion says, “Come, Holy Spirit, come…”, we’re doing just that. Every time you say grace before you eat, you invite God to sit down with you and enjoy. Every time you donate food to the local food pantry, or animals through Heifer International, you send God along to eat with those who need it.
We may not slaughter animals in church for God much anymore, but we do still like to eat with those we love. So next time you sit down for a meal, invite God to join you and pray this prayer:
For the gifts we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Come, God, come. Amen.
A big thank you to Rev. Quinn Caldwell, regular contributor to the Stillspeaking Daily Devotional where this devotional was originally published. To sign up for this inspirational resource, click here. Also, thanks to Santiago for photographing this beautiful Madonna and Child.