In the southern states of the US they like to eat big after a funeral — heart-attack food, mostly. No polite little British ham sandwiches and finger food for Texans. It says a lot about the difference in grieving styles between us and them.
Here, a Baptist minister proposes that funeral food should be thought of as a forerunner of the heavenly banquet to come:
There are some rules everyone needs to understand about death and funerals. For starters, funerals call for a certain kind of food. There had better be chocolate cake involved, or the family is going to be left to scramble on their own for comfort foods.
We had an experience a few years ago with a death in the family, and all the food the widow’s friends brought to the house was health food. There was no green bean casserole, no fried chicken, no homemade rolls, no chocolate cake. Finally, someone in the family drove over to KFC to bring home the kind of food we all needed in the moment. And did I mention there wasn’t even a single piece of chocolate cake brought to the house?
In Texas, we’re fond of a particular type of chocolate sheet cake that’s almost as common at church gatherings as communion elements.
Is it wrong of me to think of chocolate cake as heaven-sent? I don’t think so. Too often, we think of food for the soul as what’s bland or even bitter. The Bible says, though, that we are to “taste and see, the Lord is good.”
What families need at times of loss—and what all of us need in times of distress—is a portent of the goodness of God.
If the dinner table serves up a symbol of the heavenly banquet to come, we may draw strength in the reminder that there is comfort to be found as we gather around the heavenly host, whether in worship or in fellowship, whether in comfort or in sorrow.
Now, please pass the cake.