Something happens when people gather around a table filled with food and eat together. It's more than the time it takes. It's more than the physical proximity, the recipes followed and served, or the conversation that ensues.
Food is nothing less than sacrament. All food is given by God and is given as a means to sustain not just our bodies, but also our minds and our spirits. In all of its aspects—growth, harvest, preparation, and presentation—food is given as a primary means of drawing us into right relationship toward God, toward his creation and his people. Even its intentional absence, through fasting, pulls us toward a deeper dependence on God and one another. (Leslie Leyland Fields, editor, The Spirit of Food)
A meal is an experience that engages all the senses. We taste, we talk, we listen, we smell, we touch, and we will remember. And all this is mutual: mine overlapping yours. A shared meal is an avenue to communion, which is what our souls really crave.
Pregnant, I craved eggs and steak, my body calling for protein. And pregnant, I felt physical hunger that ran deeper than any hunger I had felt before, causing me to pray for starving, pregnant women in Africa who had no means of appeasing their own growing baby's need for sustenance. My heightened hunger had heightened my compassion.
And pregnant, there were foods that tasted better than they ever had or will again. That orange juice and those sugar cookies—oh, to taste those tastes so fully again.
Pregancy is hosting new life as it develops. It is a physical communion between two souls, one parent, one child, that enlivens sensations that were deadened or nonexistent before the communion. Food fuels the chemistry for life.
Fasting can do the same between one Father and one child, when we lay aside the physical food for the fasting chemistry of the spirit. He hungers to be our host. When we partake of this kind of communion, we fully taste, and we see that the Lord is good.
Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
And let his banner over me be love.
Song of Solomon 2:4
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Daniel Fast Reflections From the Beginning:
Day 1 :: Food
Day 2 :: Slow
Day 3 :: Foreign
Day 4 :: Hunger
Day 5 :: Life
Day 6 :: Free
Day 7 :: Praise
Day 8 :: Respond
Day 9 : Interruption
Day 10 :: Prayer
Day 11 :: Answer