Celebrations organized around food have always been a central feature of the Christian experience. Holly W. Whitcomb, a United Church of Christ minister, delights in the possibilities for table spirituality. She is quite at ease regarding God as the Presider at the Banquet, the Welcoming One, and the Divine Chef. "Sharing food," she notes, "is one of life's most primal and bonding experiences. Eating together creates community."

Toward that aim, she presents outlines for 16 "feasts" including reflections on the theme, opportunities for discussion, music and decoration suggestions, and recipes invoking the symbolic meaning of the food. Some of our favorites are a "boast and toast" feast of self-esteem using special goblets; an outrageous feast with foods that speak of excess to go along with the sharing of flamboyant fantasies; a global potluck to celebrate connections with countries around the world, and feast of the foremothers to celebrate the collective wisdom of women through the ages. These food-focused rituals are communal, incarnational, sensuous, imaginative, and deeply spiritual.