Monday, January 12
For Sunday, January 18, 2nd Sunday after Epiphany
READ: 1 Corinthians 6.12-20 “lawful”
REFLECT: I’ve been sitting with this passage for days, and it’s been sitting with me. Like a meal that my body just cannot seem to digest, it just keeps churning within me. Domination, food, sex and what is ultimately good for the body – this body that is a temple to God.
Despite all of this, I return to the first word that really caught my attention, “lawful.” As often happens in my experience of lectio divina, the word “lawful” took on a life of its own and became “awful.” Just one letter away and something acceptable or permissible becomes something harmful. It’s a fine line.
It reminds me of a healthy eating initiative at school a few years ago. A while back, from what I hear, whenever food was served at an event it was always pizza – cheap and easy. When we began to look more reflectively and holistically at this practice, we knew it could not continue. Students’ mental performance and spiritual and emotional well-being could not be separated from their physical well-being. So we made the decision to only order pizza once a year and focus on more healthful, albeit more expensive, options.
Once we had established our healthy eating campaign, the conversation turned to portion size. But the problem with that rhetoric is the assumption that everyone is inclined to eat too much. At the other end of the spectrum lurk other food challenges that often go unnoticed – anorexia and bulimia. By having a one-dimensional message about portion control, we knew that those who were struggling with these eating disorders were hearing a message that they had eaten too much. To add a further layer of complexity, it often surprises people to learn that obesity is closely linked to food insecurity.
These days, we try to focus on an abundance of healthful food. Rather than focusing on diets, restrictions and portion control, we try to focus on providing healthful choices, which also includes monthly cooking demos to teach students how to prepare good food on a limited budget.
Laws, it seems, by their nature, can only keep us from straying off course, but they can’t make us do what is right and choose what will bring health and wholeness. Focusing on the letter of the law in our lives, whether a diet, an exercise regimen, or something else, is never going to bring the freedom and happiness we’re looking for.
RESPOND: God, whether with individual eating disorders or with the social disorder of our food system, help us to be compassionate and discerning. Help us to resist one-size-fits-all solutions. Help us to sit with the issues in our own contexts, to listen deeply and respond with grace and love to the needs of others and within ourselves.
Portion control and withholding food, food security and insecurity, malnutrition and obesity – these are all two sides of the same coin. We often find ourselves on one side, preaching our message, oblivious to the way it impacts those on the other side. Whether about food or something else, what message do you find yourself proclaiming? It it a message that needs to be proclaimed to others, or is it one that you need to heed yourself?
LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):
1 Samuel 3.1-10, (11-20)
Psalm 139.1-6, 13-18
Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide by Audrey Hindes for peacemakers in the lectio divina form. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and reflection that treats scripture as the Living Word. Lectio Divina Paci is an opportunity for peacemakers to become more in tune with the voice of the Prince of Peace.