I’ve been thinking about what I eat. At the start of the school year I decided not to eat with the other teachers and instead spend my lunch walking briskly for a mile while I eat a meager lunch. Usually it is an apple, a piece of cheese, and some jerky. I listen to my iPod (gift from a friend!) and pray while I walk.
I am thinking carefully about what I consume. I even tease myself with food. If I need to get something to eat and no one is home so regular dinner won’t work, I drive by Burgerville, slow down, think about the juicy delights within, and then go on to a restaurant. There I look at the menu, reading over the description of the hamburgers, and when the waitress arrives I say: “I’ll have a bowl of soup please.” I feel like I am a very, very good boy.
I don’t eat that ice cream at bedtime. I pass on the cookies in the staff room (today there were donuts!). I’m being good. I’ve lost 15 pounds in three weeks.
I was once thinner. I was a vegetarian (seven years!). In fact I was the head cook of a popular vegetarian restaurant in Southern California. The restaurant faded away (but was reborn as a chain of markets and cafes). It wasn’t a good diet for me. I abused my body at that time with extremes of fasting and paid the price.
I later went the other direction and lived by raising my own food: gardening, chickens, rabbits, milking goats. I was trying to be responsible for my own diet.
It occurs to me that there are different ways to view consumption. I was reading a blog the other day about transubstantiation, the idea that in communion the elements literally become the blood and flesh of Christ, the essence of His sacrifice. (I’m not taking a position on that issue.)
When He was preparing to die for us, He gathered the apostles and fed them a meal that was real as well as metaphorical. He wanted us to remember Him and the point of His life. He wanted us to take a personal part in His sacrifice, to think about taking in this ultimate sacrifice as nourishment, as food, to consume Him. Just as the priests of the temple took part in the sacrifices of the people, Christians acknowledge their role in the crucifixion by partaking in communion.
How strange! In no other faith do believers take responsibilty for the suffering of God. We actively remember our responsibility by consuming a symbol (or actual part) of that ultimate sacrifice.
Whether or not you believe that the actual essence of communion is the body of Christ, it should be clear that He provides all we consume. We get everything we need from Him, and Him alone. Whether you are a vegetarian or a full fledged carnivore, the source of all you eat has a divine element to it. He holds the universe together.
I have an odd little idea, probably wrong on several levels, but here it goes: All material in the universe (universe meaning “single statement”) is made up of atoms. Atoms are made up of smaller particles (protons, electrons, and neutrons). Those smaller particles are made up of even smaller particles called quarks. There are six types of quarks and they work together in quantities of thirds to make up the constituent parts of the atom. (I find the thirds idea interesting. At the basic level of the universe there is a sort of shared trinity holding things together.)
Many of the theories regarding quarks state that they are made up of tiny loops of one dimensional strings vibrating in at least eleven dimensions. These vibrations produce different quarks in a way similar to a guitar string producing different musical notes or a vocal cord producing various sounds. So at the deepest level of physics there are elements which sing the universe into existence.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17
It is all Him. The food I eat, whether it is bread or beef, the things I drink, water or wine, the air I breathe, the light that shines, the things that nourish me are all Him.
I live on and for Him. All that makes me live, all that I consume, all that keeps my lungs working, my heart beating, the very force that holds the particles of my being together is Him. I feast on my deity. I am a deitarian.