“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8 NIV)
It’s funny the things that imprint on our brain, as opposed to the things that don’t. You would think that the important stuff would stick in our heads and the unimportant stuff would not. Yet it seems to be the exact opposite. For instance, I can’t remember a single thing, not a single thing from my High School Algebra class. But I can tell you I saw Chris Hammond of the Reds pick up a win against Dwight Gooden in 1992. Then again, perhaps sit just we designate what we think is important and that’s what we remember.
Regardless I do I know I remember very little to nothing from High School geometry ( are you sensing the theme here) but I vividly remember a poster that was in the cafeteria behind the “lunch ladies” when I was in kindergarten. It was a poster of a tiger made up of different food groups. The feet were triangles of cheese, the tail was made up of sausage links, you get the idea. Emblazoned over the “food tiger” were these words, you are what you eat.
You are what you eat. Of course it was a meant to be a remind to eat healthy. If you eat healthy, you will be healthy. Which probably makes sense to an adult. But a five year old sees that poster in a very different way. What do you mean you are what you eat?Does that mean I’ll turn into one of the foods I eat? Which one? Why haven’t my parents told me of this dark magic? It quickly confirmed this was an evil place and I would have been much safer at home, watching Bogs Bunny, blissfully unaware one could turn into a hamburger.
Of course I later found out it’s simply a way to reminder us to be careful about what we eat. We don’t become what we eat. Although to be on the safe side, I still refuse to eat brussels sprouts. Because if I’m going to turn into a food, I’m not speaking the rest of my life as a brussels sprout. bacon is another matter altogether.
The poster is right, of course. a steady diet of what is bad for us will affect our health. A lack of vitamins and healthy food choices will come back to haunt us at some point. A steady diet of bad food is detrimental both to the body and to the soul.
I wonder it if it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have one of those pastors in the sanctuaries of our churches? You are what you eat. Be careful that you don’t feed your souls on poison and darkness. At some point the are consequences. What do you feed your soul? Do you feed it with anger, depression, a sense of futility, sin? Many of us have malnourished souls because we simply give them nothing good to feast on. And just like a malnourished body cannot perform, neither can a malnourished soul.
I’ve through about this over the past few days as we’ve witnessed the ugliness of the riots and demonstrations in Charlottesville. It’s obvious the people there have fed their souls with hatred and violence. But I’ve also noticed how it’s affected those who have simply watched what’s going on. Many have claimed despair. Many have cried out they’ve lost faith in humanity. And I get it. What happened is awful. But I also understand that a steady diet of ugliness causes us to only see ugliness in the world.
The only way the church can truly stand against evil is to make sure it is properly nourished in the first place. Please understand I’m not advocating ignoring evil in the world. I’m simply cautioning you only feeding off of ugliness eventually starves our souls.
I’m choosing to eat properly in the face of brokenness. I’m leaning on the passage of Scripture at the top of the page. “taste and see that the Lord is good” Are you feeding on the Lord? Are you praying? Worshipping immersing yourself in His word. Are you even reaching out for His hand and inviting His Holy Spirit to comfort you? If I’m going to feast I want to feast on the ineffable goodness of Jesus. When I feed on His goodness the poison of the world has a lessened effect on me.
Look for the good in the midst of the bad. I spent time remembering the good I saw in so many volunteers at our church who gave up their Saturday morning to be in mission to people in our community. And they do it every month. I want to feast on that goodness more than the despair. I think of hearing the marvelous things God did through our mission team, the first intergenerational mission team we’ve ever done. Children and seniors sharing the love of Christ. I want to feast on the goodness I see there. The joy of worship, watching a young man come to the altar and pray for his wife as they prepare for their first child.
And while I think our church is special,it’s not unique. Everywhere we look God is inviting us to see the goodness in Him and in the world around us. It’s there for us if we will only seat and eat. So today I remind you we are what we eat. Will you choose to taste and see the goodness of God? What are you feeding your soul?
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><