Sydney, Australia

You walk into a room filled with low, warm light. A delicious blend of aromas drift through the air as you enter; both anticipation and happy tummy rumbles grow. Laughter and chatter fill your ears. The clatter of busy hands in the background, preparing the feast. Your place is labelled, your name lovingly presented. You have a place. The feast is about to begin. 

Feast

PICTURE: Kaboompics/Pexels

In the church, we have recently celebrated Pentecost, an important day in the Christian calendar. Before the life and death of Jesus, this was a traditional Jewish Feast day called the ‘Feast of Weeks’ or The Harvest Feast’, celebrated 50 days after the Passover Festival. Incredibly, Pentecost fell on the 50th day after the resurrection of Jesus. Today, on Pentecost Sunday, we celebrate the birth of the modern church where the Holy Spirit empowered believers with tongues of fire to heal, speak the word boldly, and to be His living, breathing representatives on Earth. 

SIMPLE FEAST-WORTHY SLOW-COOKED MOROCCAN BEEF STEW

Ingredients:
600g beef chuck steak (3cm pieces)
3 Tbsp plain flour
Salt & pepper
1 brown onion, chopped
400g green beans, cut into 4cm pieces
3 carrots, halved lengthways, sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Harissa (Middle Eastern spice)
400g can crushed tomatoes
1 ½ cups beef stock
1/2 cup raisins or dates
Fresh coriander leaves, to serve
Rice to serve

Method:
1. Mix salt and pepper with plain flour, and coat meat in mixture.
2. Heat oil in pan on high and brown the beef evenly in batches, then pop in your slow cooker.
3. Add onions, garlic, and Harissa to pan and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
4. Pop carrots, beans, Harissa mixture, crushed tomatoes, beef stock in the slow cooker.
5. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, then add raisins or dates and 1 cup cold water.
6. Cover again and cook on low for 2 hours.
7. Serve with rice, fresh coriander leaves, and loads of feast-worthing side dishes, wine, soft drink and/or juice!

This wildly dramatic and critical moment is traditionally marked with a feast, but in the West, we rarely celebrate this day at all, except in our Sunday services. At least, not to the same extent as Christmas, Easter, and, to a lesser degree, Passover, all which include masses amounts of food and times of reverence and reflection. As people, we love to feast. Think of weddings, birthday celebrations, and Christmas day. Our stomachs full past what actually feels comfortable, but the joy associated with this sensation and sense of belonging, makes it all worthwhile.

Throughout the Bible, feasts were more than an opportunity to bloat our stomachs. They were an important part of everyday life, celebrating significant occasions as they happened and remembering holy moments from the past. From Abraham feasting to mark Isaac’s weaning (let’s bring that back!) to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, celebrating Jesus’ return in Revelation, banquets and feasting are in our spiritual DNA. 

It’s a beautiful thing! I love the imagery of David’s Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies”. This image reflects a generous God offering a feast as a loving gesture, an act of unconditional devotion, provision, and honour. For us, it’s also a communal way to remember the past, to take a moment, and to celebrate as the body of Christ. Wouldn’t this be a beautiful way to reconnect, to take time, and really get to know who that person is sitting next to us in church?



The early church was literally built on regularly sharing a meal together. This was God’s design. It was less about religious serivces and more about community. Have we lost the art and the point of feasting together? 

Apart from traditional feasting days, we now celebrate in a rather different way. Grazing tables, platters have become incredibly popular. Not as heavy to stomach, these offerings create a sense of community, while looking rather pretty. But today, because it’s winter here in Australia, I’m providing a comforting, slow-cooked, inexpensive meal you can whip up and let those flavours develop over time.


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The key to modern feasting has to be easy and tasty! Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring a plate...people love feeling like they’re contributing. Community is built by all members joining in on the feast. Bringing something they love to the table will increase their feeling of belonging at the table. 

We need to be opening our doors and embracing God’s original plan for church, which is true community built with generous feasts and hospitality. Importantly, don’t simply focus on your faith community but open your doors to those in your suburb or town and welcome them into the fold with some mighty fine, stomach-filling, heart-warming offerings.