by: Erin Forge't-Wells
Pastor Jane explores John 6: 51-58 and what it means to eat Jesus' flesh and drink his blood.
This week's retreat exercise is called "Mindfull Eating"-
An exercise shared by Vinita Hampton Wright (loyolapress.com)
Today, or sometime soon, practice mindful eating and drinking. It’s not difficult, but it does take some time and the willingness to focus and be still. Here are some ideas.
Choose one thing to eat. Maybe it’s an apple or a cucumber. Maybe it’s a slice of whole grain bread. Or a portion of slow-cooked roast. Maybe it’s your favorite cupcake. Arrange it on a plate to make it attractive. Slice the fruit or vegetable, drizzle honey on the bread, or sauce over the meat. In other words, if you were serving this to someone how would you present it so that the experience was pleasant and beautiful?
Then go to a place where you will be undisturbed. Get settled comfortably. Take some time to look at what is on the plate. And allow yourself to smell the aroma of it.
Then give thanks for the food. Give thanks to the Creator who made it possible. But don’t stop there. Give thanks to every person ever involved so that you could eat this apple or this cupcake. Someone tended the tree, harvested the fruit, sorted, packed, shipped and so on. Someone arrived probably very early in the morning at the bakery and kneaded the bread dough or mixed the cupcake. Some truck driver too, was involved, to deliver ingredients to the bakery or cupcakes to the grocery store. Give thanks also to the non-humans who made your food possible. Some chicken laid the egg to make the cupcake so fluffy. Some cow was butchered so that you could put the roast in the oven and eat it now. And there were humans who tended the chicken and the cow. Say a prayer for every being involved in this food on your plate. Ask grace upon all the workers that their conditions be good ones. That their involvement with food be wholesome and cooperative and not cruel and wasteful. Ask for clean, safe workplaces and humane, respectful treatment of any animals involved.
Are you beginning to see a whole lot more than the apple, or cupcake or roast?
Then eat this food. Eat it slowly, one small bite at a time. Savor every bite. Hold it in your mouth and identify every nuance of flavor and texture. This food is keeping you alive. This food is a great gift. This food is sacred.
When you have finished eating, then spend a few more moments in gratitude. In some traditions, grace is said after the meal. It’s not a bad idea to say it before and after. It’s probably impossible to be too mindful or too grateful.