You Are What You Eat (part one)
By Steve Bolie of Clive, IA, USA
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of God who sent me and to complete the Divine work. —John 4:31–34 NRSV, adapted
Often registration forms for conferences, workshops, and reunions include the question “Do you have any special dietary needs?” Usually, in an act of orneriness, I write, “Lots of ice cream.” It hasn’t worked so far, but there is always hope.
Now I have another need based on the scripture above: “To do the will of God.” It is a statement of desire, but there is always hope.
If doing God’s will was nourishment for Jesus, it must be so for us. Even as we need the life-keeping nutrients of physical food, we need the spiritual nourishment of being in tune with God and doing what God desires of us.
The common phrase “you are what you eat” applies to dietary practices and to spiritual practices—we are what we pray. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper symbolizes this. When we eat the bread and drink the wine of the Communion, we take into ourselves symbolically the body of Christ. We affirm our discipleship, our desire to be Christ-like. We commit to God that “we are willing to take upon [us] the name of God’s Son, and always remember him and keep the commandments which he has given[us], that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us].”
Such spiritual food is a special dietary need for our good health and abundant life.
Prayer for Peace
Communal God, we know we are blessed when we gather in your name. We feel your Spirit when we remember the source of all food. Our souls are complete when we remember to feed the hungry and share Christ’s justice and peace.
Spiritual Practice: Table Ministry
Imagine or write a journal description of a banquet for your congregation and community. Envision rich sharing among diverse groups as people plan, cook, eat, share stories, sing, or pray together. Prayerfully consider this question, “Is there a way for me to transform this vision into a real event?” What does the table ministry of Jesus look like in your personal and congregational life?
Today, God, when I remember Christ, I will act in his stead.