Ashleigh Plane, Secondary Teacher

In HSC Food Technology this term, students have been investigating the impact of an organisation in the Australian Food Industry on the individual, society and environment. We are blessed with an array of fresh farming produce in the Hawkesbury, so took the opportunity to hear from local producers, Shane & Tessa McLaughlin from Hillbilly Cider.

Students visited the Hillbilly Cider Shed in Bilpin and, beside a warm log fire with hot chocolate in hand, spent the morning hearing about the manufacturing operations of cider. After many years in the cider industry, Shane was able to impart valuable knowledge on apple growing conditions and harvesting, the fermentation process, packaging, distribution and the sale of their cider products. Students observed the orchard onsite, small-batch processing machinery, fermentation barrels, and the canning process. They also enjoyed tasting non-alcoholic cider with their delicious wood-fired pizzas for lunch. We were treated to such warm and kind hospitality. Students saw first hand how a hot meal on a cold day, quality time with friends, and shared wisdom could impact the individual and society. Likewise, Christ exhorts us to share with each other through hospitality.

hospitality: the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers

Oxford Languages

Hospitality does not necessarily have to include food, but throughout the gospel, we see Jesus meeting with his disciples and sharing wisdom and quality time over a meal. Consider the Passover meal in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus foretold his journey to the cross for our salvation…

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Matthew 26:26-29

…or his breakfast with his disciples after his resurrection.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

John 21:9-14

“Come and have breakfast” Jesus says. The fishermen were probably famished from being out all night, with their minds on the work still to be done. Jesus interrupts their busyness. He knows their needs. Not only has he provided a miraculous catch of fish, he also addresses their physical and spiritual hunger by breaking the hardship of work with hospitality and food. He encourages them by eating with them in his resurrected body.

When perusing Hillbilly Cider’s website, you will see their motto ‘Hillbillification: encompassing all that is great about living life in the slow lane’. Food shared in community with others impacts the individual. Christ disrupts our busyness with the offer of his body broken for us. How can we share this hospitality with others?


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