Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you."
This whole year in Sicily has been one big Fat Tuesday for me. Gluttony in the most delicious (and often problematic) sense. Granted, I am very grateful for the wonderful food I've been given at the cooking school and as we travel throughout Sicily. I am enamored of the fresh, local ingredients and learning new recipes and techniques. However, living here and working on a film that focuses on food has reminded me that "man shall not live on bread alone," but needs to rely on the Bread of Christ, the everlasting food of fulfillment.
No matter how much glorious food surrounds me here, I am reminded over and over again that relationships far surpass the food in importance. My relationship with God being most important, and then the human relationships that He supports and enriches. A sour or cruel remark at the lunch table can spoil the taste of the pasta, but no human failure can spoil the nourishment that God provides.
My lenten meditations this year will be food focused, but in a way that tries to find the balance between appreciating the material blessings of God while not forgetting about the importance of the immaterial spiritual blessings. I adore the slow food/ sustainable ag movement and very much want to focus my theological studies on this subject, but I want to do this wisely, without making food an idol. A lot of the food movement (and I'm also very guilty of this) has become this shallow, focusing on the aesthetics of the food, forgetting to truly prioritize the relational, spiritual, environmental, and environmental motivations in a meaningful sense.
I haven't decided yet what I'm going to give up to support this task (I have until midnight tonight for discernment), but I want to pray about how I cultivate food from a place of Christ-like love, rather than a erroneous seeking for fulfillment in the beautiful or in the trendy. I found this prayer today in the Sojourners and found it apt:
"God of mercy, you have given us life, and tilled our soil day by day to nurture us. You grant us innumerable opportunities to do good with the graces we have received, and bear fruit. Please forgive the ways we have held back this love and care for others. Amen."