Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blessings on your grub

What bad manners I have, setting my table all of these Tuesdays without even talking about blessings first!

I work in a farmer's market. I love the atmosphere. There is much I could disclose about it, nutritionally or environmentally; but for now I'd like to say that the market I worked in today is run by a few very friendly men who bring someone in each morning to say a prayer, and give a blessing on all the workers and food that is about to be sold. The minister said a few words, and they inspired me.

I was reminded of what a blessing and a gift our food is.* Without food, without sustenance, we would cease to exist. Every seed-bearing fruit, every fish of the sea, fowl of the air, and beast of the earth is a part of our Divine food chain. When we abuse it, the result is that we often find ourselves, as an entire species, having that chain disturbed and sometimes having those gifts taken away from us.

When God sent manna to come from the sky into the desert to feed His people, He instructed them very specifically to take only and exactly what they needed for the day and no more.** Were those words and that story recorded historically, or do you think they were recorded in hopes that future generations would be reminded of consuming only what we need to sustain ourselves?

Do we do that? Do we take and consume only what we need?

In a society and generation of people that seems to have a vast addiction to surplus, it's hard to remind ourselves to use only what we need, to not abuse the natural balance. Gluttony is a sin, but do we think of it that way? Do we think of over-indulgence as pleasure? Just how much spirituality has been lost from our eating habits over generations? Even our food suppliers over-stock because it "looks better" than being understocked, but (and I have seen for myself now) so much of that excess goes to waste. I have a hard time believing that God is happy about that, when so many of His children are starving and it is our duty to do unto our brethren as we'd do unto Him. Would we let our own God starve for the benefit of ourselves? (Matthew 25:34-35, 40).

*Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be your food." Genesis 1: 28-30

**Then the Lord said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. Exodus 16:4

**So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3

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