Chapter 6 – Bread from Heaven: Food in Sacred Scripture
I loved this chapter! What I hear is that as we read Sacred Scripture we hear over and over that food is good. God created it for us, to nourish us, to sustain us, and to bring us together. So often through Scripture you will find food within a story – like the author points out we start with food in Genesis with a piece of fruit and continue through scripture to Jesus giving us His body and blood through bread and wine.
There were two things the author said that really struck me and I thought I would spend a little time on:
“Food isn’t always just food. Sometimes, it’s much, much more” (page 65).
That is so true in Scripture and in the world today! So often food symbolizes something else. When I thought about this the first thing I thought of was chicken soup, or if someone dies you take casseroles to the family – is it really food that heals the illness or the grief? No. The food symbolizes the love and compassion that others can’t express in mere words. The other day I went to the doctor after 2 weeks of pain in my leg. I left there with a new fashion accessory and a dampened spirit as I realized how I was not going to be able to keep running right now, and how difficult simple things are going to be for the next several weeks – so what did I do? I decided I needed some good comfort food and got myself some pasta and bread! That probably wasn’t the best thing for my body since I can’t run off that energy, but boy was it good for my soul! Food is a great symbol.
The second quote:
“With greater freedom comes greater responsibility” (page 68).
In all areas of my life I realize that as I gain freedom it does come with greater responsibility for myself and those around me. I think of the story of Adam and Eve – there was one tree to stay away from, they were free to have anything else in the garden, yet they chose to eat what was forbidden. I loved when the author pointed out that in Genesis there was one sentence about eating and then in Leviticus we have a whole chapter to focus on food. When we are not responsible with our freedom we lose it, just like a teenager or a child who gets grounded. And when we break the rules it affects more than just ourselves. We have to learn to make wise choices for ourselves and others. I used to run therapy groups for kids who were in trouble. One of the exercises I did regularly was to present to them “World A” with no rule, no limits, no restrictions and “World B” a place with rules and limits. The kids would be divided into two groups to discuss some questions regarding what their world would look like now and in the future. Of course they all wanted “World A,” until the discussion got going. They realized that in “World A,” when there are no rules, anyone and everyone only does what they want and they don’t consider what others may want or need. Most groups would come to the conclusion that “World A” would probably not even survive a generation. But in “World B” as you follow the rules you gain freedom and eventually you are free from rules because you have learned to choose responsibly for yourself and others so that rules are not needed as much and you would be able to live in harmony together. Always a good lesson that would bring us back to how when the rules are lifted its because we’ve learned from them and know how to make choices that are for the good of me and those around me.
When I consider this in regards to food I think of two things:
Those who are hungry. As a responsible member of society I am called to care for the needs of others – to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, etc. In my freedom with what I have, how do I contribute to those in need?
Purchasing local. When I go to get fresh produce or other groceries do I consider buying from local people or do I just buy what’s the most inexpensive? I lvoe going to local farmers markets and getting fresh produce and other items produced by local people. Consider supporting local merchants to continue to grow our community and restore dignity to those who labor.