Potluck Spirituality

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Pretty much everyone I know, from young tots to seasoned grown-ups, loves a good old-fashioned Potluck Meal.  Who can resist a table lined with every type of dish imaginable, just waiting to be sampled by its hungry participants?  Swedish Meatballs, Shepherd’s Pie, Spicy Chili, Sweet Potato Casserole, Macaroni Salad, Lasagna, Veggie Trays with Dip and Sliced Ham!  Not to mention the various renditions of all these favourites and new dishes never before tried, soon to be attempted.

And the desserts are to die for!  Cheesecake of every variety.  Brownies and Blondies, Macaroons and Lemon Squares.  Cakes and Pies and Loafs and Muffins.  Shortbread and Sugar Cookies, Peanut Butter Balls and Fudge.  We must not forget the infamous Butter Tarts and the always loved staple, Date Squares.  Trifle and Torte, Apple Crisp and Bread Pudding.  The sweet options are endless!

As plates are loaded with a “little of this and a little of that” each participant finds a place to sit and settle in for a leisurely stretch of fellowship.  Gales of laughter are heard and complements to the chefs, while recipes are being swapped.  Enjoyable chatter and deep discussions break out around tables, while children sneak a few extra sweets and dash off to their hiding places with their “buds.”  Sometimes, groups break out in song or a game is initiated to add a little pizazz.  Then the sleeves get rolled up for clean-up duty and bakeware is sorted out to ensure its safe return to its owners.

All in all, a very enjoyable experience.  One which fosters a sense of belonging, comradery, friendship and generosity.  Until hours later when indigestion sets in and relief is so desperately sought after.

Recently, I came across a statement that said, “All religions lead to the same god.”  Many believe this to be true.  This idea is prevalent in our Western Culture, where tolerance is of high value and personal beliefs trump any absolutes.  Couple this with the world being so small due to the internet, that information regarding religious ideologies are literally at our fingertips and just a few taps away from entering our consciousness.

Essentially, we are presented with a Spiritual Potluck of indulgences, one in which we can sample “a little of this and a little of that” until we find a religious experience that tastes good.  Some will adhere to one religion only, consuming only the sweet items on the menu.  Others will mix and match their beliefs, stuffing themselves to overflowing, based on their spiritual cravings.  Still others, will choose to graze on familiar comforts that lack true nutrition.  Some simply choose to abstain from consumption altogether.  All of this in an effort to fill the God-shaped void they innately possess deep in their bellies.

By seeking out a group who share the same tastes in religiousity, a sense of belonging, comradery, friendship and generosity is deeply developed, breeding appetites only temporarily satisfied.  Eventually the empty spiritual calories, consumed by the participants of this type of Spiritual Potluck, will leave them with spiritual indigestion only relieved by Jesus Christ, Himself.

In fact, Jesus proclaimed in John 14:6 that He is, “the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father (God) except” through Him.  His work on the cross, His death and resurrection are what gives us life!  He is the very “bread of life” and “whoever comes to (Him) will never go hungry, and whoever believes in (Him) will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) Jesus, alone, satisfies all our deepest hungers and he calms all our spiritual indigestion once and for all!

Colossians 2:8 admonishes us not to, “let anyone capture (us) with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.”  We need to stay the course with Jesus, feasting on His very being, eating up His every word for there we will find true health and vitality on our path to meet the one true God, our Heavenly Father.