my friend here not knowing anything about the place i am in writing on this blog lent me a book yesterday to read a chapter on sabbath & food - she knows of my struggle, but did not know her timing was so perfect. it's called The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan and in chapter eleven, "Feast - Stopping to Taste the Kingdom" he makes some profound points about our relationship to food as Christ followers.
he begins by telling a story about watching girls on a ride called "the mad hatter", three enjoying it and one turning greener and more ill with every go-round. she eventually was sick. he writes:
"That happened a long time ago, but I've never forgotten it. I wish I could. It's become a kind of metaphor for me, that Whirligig, that Mad Hatter. It's become a symbol of the power of amusement to make us sick. Pleasure can be like that: a thing that spins you round and round, faster and faster. Some people enjoy it immensely, at least for short bursts.
They lean into it.
Others aren't doing so well.
Of all the ways our culture spins us dizzy, its obsession with food is one of the most glaring."
he then quotes Dorothy Bass, "Without a fast, It's hard to recognize a feast."
it is his contention that the sabbath was made for feasting, and because we feast continually in our culture we are rarely able to celebrate the sabbath because we are so stuffed all of the time that we are never truly hungry. he then unpacks about 4-5 stories about food and people, some of them biblical. the conclusion he draws from the story about the jesus and the women at the well and his solution to this is off for me. i was really tracking with him up to that point, but i don't believe that when jesus tells the disciples after his interaction at the well that 'he has food they know nothing of and it's to do the work of his father' that work is the solution to over-eating. i have seen work abused and traded for eating, even the good work of god - my own husband stands as evidence for this, and i too can loose myself in the work of god much to the abandonment of the present i am called to.
but it did broaden the breadth of my thinking on this. buchanan ends each chapter with a sabbath litury and in this one he uses the story of esau and jacob and what he wrote didn't pull at me as much as just thinking about that story in the context of my own story. what am i trading for my inheritance? how is food becoming more important to me than what is truly precious? how can being hungry and doing without teach me more than being full and stuffed to the gills? i know that i have "misplaced hunger" and an "appetite gone awry" - so today i am thinking about my "mess of pottage" and what i'm trading it for.