Keeping the Feast

Metaphors for the Meal

Milton Brasher-Cunningham

Oct/2012, 144 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819227898



 Foreword by Sara Miles

  • Accessible spiritual narratives of the meal as Communion, plus recipes, by a well-known blogger, widely-travelled musician, and retreat leader

“This is a book about what nourishes us: food, faith, family, and friends, and how all of those elements are essential ingredients of Communion—in fact how every meal of our lives holds an invitation to the Sacred Meal.

As I say in the opening chapter, ‘What the Gospel writers don’t seem to scrimp on are stories of Jesus eating, or at least stories about Jesus and food. He eats, feeds, talks about food, and even calls himself the Bread of Life, right down to that last night in the Upper Room…where they sat around the table and he wrapped it all up with a meal—The Meal—as his ultimate metaphor.’” — from the Introduction

Milton Brasher-Cunningham is a writer, chef, teacher, United Church of Christ minister, small urban farmer, musician, husband, and keeper of Schnauzers, who lives with his wife, Ginger (also a United Church of Christ minister), in Durham, North Carolina. He blogs at, sharing reflections and recipes.


Books - By M. Morford on December 18, 2012 at 7:29 am

Keeping the Feast: Metaphoers for the meal, by Milton Brasher-Cunningham

There’s the story, perhaps apocryphal, of one of the early cooperative space projects by the USA and Russia. Upon their return, they were both asked what they had learned from their work together. The Russian cosmonaut replied, ‘The Americans have the worst bread in the universe.”

True or not, this little story reminds us how much what we eat tells about who we are.

Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry and Alice Waters, among many others, show us how central food is to our identity and culture, but it took Keeping the Feast by Milton Brasher-Cunningham to remind me what food is to the life, ministry, and even the enduring presence of Christ in the world.

Jesus called Himself the bread of life, fed the multitudes and urged us to eat of his flesh and blood in memory of Him in Communion.

There are parables of Heaven as a place of feasting, where as Brasher-Cunningham reminds us, the food should be excellent, but the company even better. Who we eat with is at least as important as what we eat.

And Milton Brasher-Cunningham reminds us that we eat in the present tense: our meals, our fellowship, our communion, sometimes routine, sometimes memorable, is always transitional and sometimes transformative.
Eating alone will sustain us, but a shared meal will change us—perhaps a little, perhaps much.

It is very revealing to consider who we welcome within our own walls—and whose walls welcome us.

When the body of Christ gathers and eats together, all are welcome, no one is excluded and no one goes away empty.

And eating together should never be an obligation; it is an opportunity for fellowship, healing and restoration.
The difference, Milt writes, between good and great food is time. Prepackaged faith is as non-nourishing as prepackaged food. Solid faith and good food are not fast and efficient. But with time they become filling.

He reminds us that our best, and most memorable, meals are not prepared or eaten alone. Our physical sustenance, like our spiritual growth, is rarely, if ever alone.

He puts the lie to what I would consider the dumbest political slogan of the century: “I built this.”

No one grows in faith, in business, or in life without teachers, mentors, and encouragers. No one makes it to Heaven, financial success, or the fellowship of the saints alone.

Milt observes that “You build a soup the way you build a life” (page 63). It takes time, a multitude of ingredients, and never turns out the same. With a poem and a recipe, each chapter begins with a vision (or idea) and a means of practical expression that prepares us for our time together.

As Milt puts it, “If we can’t come to the table together, then we can’t come together” (page 64). What else would you expect from someone who moderates a blog at

Jesus welcomes all to His banquet—all are invited, but not all will come.
Come to the Table. Take. Eat. Remember

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