FEATURE: Assembly Participants Savor “World Cuisine”
Open-air Fellowship Highlights Food as Universal Right
STUTTGART, Germany/GENEVA, 2 August 2010 – An outdoor supper during the Eleventh Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (FLM) brought home the communal meaning of Jesus’ prayer “Give us today our daily bread” and underscored the universal right of all peoples to food security.
On the evening of Saturday, 24 July, midway into the Assembly, delegates, guests and accompanying persons gathered for an evening get-together in Schiller Square, located in the heart of Stuttgart. There, in the warm summer air, the host church treated its guests to an outdoor supper.
The dishes for the occasion were prepared from original recipes collected by the LWF Office for Communication Services in countries in which the Department for World Service is present.
The recipes were published in the book Food for Life. The volume, a rich assortment of “world cuisine,” contains over 100 recipes accompanied by life stories and religious references from the perspective of the right to food.
In the square, various organizations offered homemade traditional biscuits and breads, and shared, by means of conversations and brochures, a multitude of stories of care-giving, spirituality, love and sustainable food strategies.
One of the healthiest dishes, the main ingredient of which is couscous, was offered in one of the varieties typical of Morocco. Another dish, prepared with slices of cooked chicken, rice and vegetables, was served with the indication that it was customarily taken into the hand and eaten using one's fingers. The recipient, prepared from wheat flour as well, was edible and thus constitutes perhaps an effective means of economizing water and protecting the environment.
Meals are vital, but they are also a delicious excuse for having fun together and experiencing the great diversity of the world in which we live. Participants relished the gifts that sustain life physically, accompanied by various types of music and groups.
The magnificent voices of brothers and sisters from Africa, the lively interpretation of traditional German tunes, followed by internationally known themes and inspirational hymns resounded in the square under the benevolent gaze of a large statue of the poet Frederick Schiller.
The famous German literary figure seemed to also appreciate the gathering’s mood and rhythm while listening to the interpretation of his most well-known verses, which Beethoven set to music in his “Ode to Joy.”
Outgoing LWF president Rev. Mark Hanson thanked the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg for its hospitality.
“I am certain that God is pleased this evening… to see people dancing and playing music and persons from all corners of the earth singing and dancing together. You, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg, are the Lutheran World Federation in this place,” Hanson said.
Hanson went on: “Being part of the FLM is to praise God... to engage in diaconal work… to strive for justice and peace, to care for God’s creation. The theme guiding this Assembly is our petition that God give daily bread to all God’s people and creatures. And God promises to give daily bread to everyone.”
As the evening was coming to a close, the feeling of fellowship that reigned led to a spontaneous joining of hands to form a large circle filling the square from whence a song of praise was lifted up.