Spiritual food

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I am suffering from the post-Thanksgiving blahs. Honestly how many ways can you eat leftover turkey? Turkey sandwiches, turkey kebab, turkey Creole, turkey casseroles and on and on, like you are repeating lines from "Forrest Gump." Don't get me wrong, sometimes that turkey sandwich packs more of a punch than the original bird in all its glory. And having more than enough is a tremendous blessing. But really.

My Christian faith expresses itself in the evangelical Southern Baptist tradition. I consider my faith to be Christian by calling, Baptist by conviction, Southern Baptist by choice. Over the years I have grown accustomed to the deep connection that Baptists have with food and our souls. When someone passes away, the family gets a casserole. When a baby has been born, the new mom and dad get a casserole. Celebrating a graduation? Why here's a cake and a casserole.

For show and tell in Mrs. Edwards' third-grade class, one boy stood before the class and said, "My family is Catholic, these are my rosaries." Another classmate shared that his family was Jewish and showed his yarmulke to the students. The third boy stood before the class and said, "We're Baptist, this is our casserole dish."

Food is a spiritual connection with us. I would guess that we are not alone. The Psalmist understood the connection between spirituality and food. Psalm 63:5 says, "My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips."

I find it interesting that soul satisfaction is compared to eating fat and rich foods. No health food trends here. Think of those dining experiences where you enjoy such great meal full of rich flavors and textures and seasoning that when you're done, your stomach is full and you're satisfied. You have not overeaten. You have not undereaten. You've had the perfect satisfying, taste bud-exploding portions.

The Psalmist here expresses the deep soul satisfaction that one has with the Lord. It seems the best way for God get through our thick heads is by our empty stomachs, by drawing to the forefront of our souls those feelings of satisfaction, of fullness of richness, of joy. It is no wonder that Jesus says he is the bread of life, he is the living water, he is the satisfier of our souls.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.

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