We Are What We Eat
By Matthew Frizzell of Lamoni, IA, USA
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the tempter. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” —Matthew 4:1–4 NRSV
Food is a path to the heart of things.
Margo and I lived with our girls in a covenant community in Chicago for three years. We befriended eight, like-minded seminary students who felt led to rent a five-bedroom apartment. We cohabitated under some simple covenants.
We shared expenses, chores, child care, and a daily common meal together (dinner). Our common meal demonstrated our call to community. We had an open table. Others could join our common dinner, and we had many guests. We also ate like most humans in the world—low on the food chain with minimal meat, cheese, processed foods, and sweets. We ate fruits and vegetables, rice and beans, homemade breads and grains. We all agreed to eat what was prepared.
After several weeks, it was obvious that our common meal began to wear away at our sense of community. We began to see how our culture’s individualism and choices formed us. Some of us began longing for cheese and meat more often. Others struggled to eat things they didn’t like. Dinner became a struggle for community together. Like Jesus’ temptation, food revealed a lot about us.
We kept our covenant and common meal for three years until the community experiment naturally ended. We went different ways, moving on to jobs and other schooling. The community meal was a three-year spiritual practice that revealed just how much our culture shapes who we are.
Lent is only a 40-day practice, but its revealing power is no less powerful. Changing what and when we ate dinner, we concretely made room for each other, for abundance with others, and were mindful of others across the world as we ate together. Food was the path.
We are what we eat.
God, may my deep hope align with your deep vision. Release in me anything that keeps me from freely following your Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply as you enter a time of silence. Become gently attentive to what may be restricting you from faithfully responding to the divine invitation in your life. Are there priorities, attachments, tasks, or motivations competing for your response? What does freedom for God look or feel like in you this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.