Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Lord's Food

Dr. Joel explains (in a much more developed and clear way) things which I have tried to say (concisely and cryptically) in the past couple years:
Though the ethics of our patterns of food production and consumption are worthy of serious reflection, I'm interested at present in the notion of food as story. The idea that what we eat connects us with other places and to larger stories about the world is central, I think, to understanding the spiritual character of eating in general and the nature of the eucharist as a sacrament in particular. Indeed, the eucharist reveals to us the ultimate meaning of eating, the way in which God's grace takes up and transforms creation.

When we, as the gathered body of Christ, share bread and wine set upon a table, we not only engage in a token, ritual meal that might nourish our bodies in some small way, but we are also caught up within a larger story that nourishes our sense of identity and community within the mission of God.


In the case of the eucharist, the experience of bread and wine betokens the range of complexity in human food-making. Bread reminds us of our most basic needs, the simplicity of grain, harvested from the field, refined by human labor, and worked and baked into a simple, yet nourishing and sustaining meal. That's part of the story of bread.

Wine, by contrast, comes at the end of a process: the planting of vines, their growth and development, the complexity of the grape corresponding to the age of its vine, the gathering of the clusters, and finally that grand process of crushing, fermenting, casking, aging, and blending what will become a delight to the palate and a source of relaxation to the body. And that's part of the story of wine. [source]
Oh please do yourselves a favor and read the whole thing: The Sacramentality of Food.