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Meditations on Food and Spirit

Introduction: Wounding and Blessing


Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Prov. 27:6)

The French verb "blesser" means "to wound", though it resembles the English verb "bless". God may bless us and wound us simultaneously; and God may bless us by wounding us. In my own case, He has "blessed" me with a digestion which is highly sensitive, easily upset, and often painful. As a result, I think a lot about food and eating. I believe that my aching gut is God's (not too subtle!) way of gaining and focusing my attention.  The Holy Spirit then transforms these painful episodes into occasions for meditation.

There is certainly much more to life than food. Still, eating-related issues occupy a huge chunk of our time and attention. It's not surprising, then, that God has used food and eating as object-lessons for some of the very deepest truths of the faith -- as we shall  see presently.


Food and Communion


"This is my body" (Mt. 26:26)

And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of me. (1 Cor. 11:24)

At the Last Supper, Jesus took the bread and said, "this is my body". This statement has a broad spectrum of interpretations within Christendom. On one end, some Christians hold that Jesus simply indicates that the bread represents His body. On the other end, some insist that Christ's literal body is specially and mystically present in the elements. I wish to offer an alternative view, which lies off the conventional spectrum and contains elements of both of these extremes.

The physical body of Jesus Christ was His own creation. There was nothing special about His body: it shared the same basic nature as all other material things. A computation based on classical physics (see the Appendix following the article) shows  that each portion of bread and wine taken  at the  Communion table  is virtually certain to contain some of the very same atoms which comprised His body and  shed blood on the Cross.

Was not Jesus telling us that bread is no different from His body? Bread and body are equally ordinary, and equally extraordinary. What was His body but a lump of clay? (but how marvellous a thing clay is!)  Bread and body are equally corruptible -- both suffer from the ravages of sin which entered the world by Adam. But just as His body was transfigured, no longer to be touched by sin, so all things will be transformed.

Bread and Body were both created with the intention to bless us. They are both expressions of the same Love. Christ poured Himself into His creation, just as He poured Himself out on the Cross. Jesus' body was given for us -- but no less were all things given for us, for our enjoyment, our nourishment, our fulfillment.

We puny humans are so arrogant to think that we make bread. Actually, we only perform a few gross manipulations on materials which God has so carefully and wonderfully fabricated. And even our tiny contribution to the process is orchestrated and enabled by Him. All of man's so-called "great" works are like this.

The bread is not physically transformed when it is blessed at the Communion table. Instead, our perceptions are transformed, our eyes are opened, as were the eyes of the two disciples by the road to Emmaus when He blessed the bread. Though Jesus had been with them all the time, His simple action jarred them into a crisis of recognition. Their breath was taken away -- how blind and doltish they had been, not to see! How blind and doltish we are, not to see Him with us always!

This recognition of the Lord's presence may gradually permeate our entire lives. We may have communion with God at every meal. We may have the same sense of His holiness, of the preciousness of the food we partake of. The Lord created this food with the same loving, particular craftsmanship that He created our bodies and even the body of Jesus Christ. We may cultivate a quietness of heart, and open our hearts to an awestruck appreciation of all things These things are the furniture which He has hand-crafted and arranged within this world that He has given us for a dwelling-place. He has surrounded us with momentos of His love. Let us slow down and see with real seeing, hear with real hearing, touch with real touching, taste with real tasting. Let us savor the richness of His gifts to us.

Communion connects the Cross with the commonplace. Jesus did some of his most profound teaching around the table; and through the Spirit, He still does. Communion puts our everyday act of eating within a proper spiritual context. The bread of Communion represents His body. We we chew and crush the bread, we testify against ourselves that we are the cause of His suffering. When we digest the bread, we implicitly acknowledge that His suffering was for our life. Not just the Lord Jesus on the Cross, but all His creation continues to suffer because of our sin. But we need not feel guilty for this, any more than a baby need feel guilty for crying or soiling her diapers. When my children are frustrated, I allow them to relieve their feelings by hitting me (but NOT each other!):  just so God invites us to take out our feelings on Him.

When we thoughtlessly shovel food into our mouths, we despise His grace. We become profane as Esau. In the American church, many Christians are overweight, many are sick and weak, because they fail to perceive the holiness in eating and food, and the sanctity of their own bodies. When we abuse food, we defile His creation. When we eat for self-indulgence at the expense of health and strength, every bite is another stripe on Jesus' back.

If we ate our bread with carefulness (Ezekiel 12:18), many of our health problems would melt away.

Every meal should be a communion.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach us to rightly discern Your Body -- not just at the Communion table, but always.


Food, Sacrifice and Offering


And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is the LORD'S. It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood. (Lev. 3:16-17)

Sacrifice, Food, and Service:
All Old Testament sacrifices were food. A spiritual offering is also spiritual food, which nourishes the spirit. Our service to God is a spiritual offering. Devoted service to God appeases the hunger of our hearts. Our food is to do His will.

Sacrifice and Fat Removal:
The Hebrews had to remove and burn up the fat surrounding the inner organs before the sacrificed animal could be eaten. The cutting away of the fat is a reminder of circumcision of the heart. The removal of fat is associated with the removal of guilt. The burning of the fat brings a sweet savor to the Lord, because it symbolizes the elimination of the self-pride and self-will which obstruct our fellowship with God.

Some body fat is necessary cushioning for  internal organs and other body parts (cf. "God's Forever Feast", by Paul Brand).  Some body fat is extra and unnecessary (especially in America!). This extra fat comes because the animal's (or person's!) eating is imbalanced, and food intake is more than enough for daily needs.  Burning up this extra fat is not waste -- rather, it returns the raw materials to the Creator, so that He can restore balance through His ongoing creative process. We must trust Him to complete this process, though sin limits our understanding.

If you eat fat then you become fat. The priest Eli was a very fat man because he and his sons ate the meat of sacrifice with the fat. So giving the fat to the Lord is a part of living a balanced life in Him.  When we give Him the extra, He restores the balance.

Americans have an overabundance of this world's pleasures. We overindulge in leisure activities and personal consumption. We waddle around overstuffed. Our inner organs are suffocated with fat, our inner lives are smothered. The Word of God tells us what we should do. Let us cut out the fat, and burn it on the altar!

We who have more abundance must be more selective. Those who are starving will eat every edible thing, but we must not do so. Scraps and garbage may be sanctified to them, but not to us. This is true as well for mental and emotional food, such as books, newspapers, TV, movies, sports, amusements, and so on. We must not partake indiscriminately.

Sacrifice and Perfectionism:
Offering and sacrifice were instituted beause of sin. Sacrifice is God's object lesson to show us how He accomodates our sinfulness.

Sin taints all of our works. We contaminate everything that we touch. The services we offer to God, even if outwardly unblemished, are congenitally flawed. For our offering to be usable, a part must be removed -- God expects this and gives explicit instructions for the removal. Then, the remainder is acceptable and pleasing to Him, and usable to us as food.

Due to my upbringing  I loathe any sort of waste, whether of food or money, time or effort. In my spiritual life, I am a perfectionist.  Though I love to teach and lead Bible studies, I usually feel terrible afterwards, because I am tormented by thoughts of how I could have done better. Who will deliver me from this burden of guilt? Thanks be to God! How wonderful that He does not expect perfection! God has imperfection and waste built into the ceremony of sacrifice. God will not accept any sacrifice without having a part burnt up and "wasted". Then the rest may be used for food.

My perfectionism with food has caused me terrible health problems.  As a child my food had always been served and apportioned for me.  I was not used to serving myself.  Consequently, when I went to college I frequently served myself too much;  and I felt compelled to clean my plate as I had during childhood.  So I often felt guiltily and uncomfortably overstuffed.  I would rail at myself for my lack of self-control, keep myself in check for several meals, and then stumble again.  This cycle went on for years, because I failed to identify and curb the basic problem.

Later when I moved to a Third World country  I was frequently served possibly unsanitary food.  Because of my "unwasteful" habits I went ahead and ate anyway,  with dire digestive consequences (at one point, I contracted amoebic dysentery).  All this, because I failed to make the connection between food and sacrifice.  In effect, I lacked faith in God to take and re-form that which is no longer usable. He wastes nothing.

At times I have felt that it is better not to serve the Lord, rather than to suffer regrets over the mistakes I always make when I do try to serve Him. But my regrets vanish when I view my service as a sacrifice. If an animal is not sacrificed, then is not cut open and the fat is not seen, though still present. Sacrifice is an opportunity to remove and burn up the fat.  There is always a part of my service which, like fat, does no good to anyone, but rather exposes my  secret failings so that God may slice them away.

In the end, we must turn everything back over to God. This is not to say that we have a license to be irresponsibly wasteful; but we should be free from the neurotic compulsion to make use of every last scrap.

Bad Eating is Blasphemy:
Drug abuse is a puny problem compared to food abuse which is rampant among Christians. Christians excoriate drugs, but joke about overeating! Our bodies are temples, and the food we eat is an offering. Misuse of food is desecration of the temple. Beware of corrupted appetites! We must always eat only within God's will, as God's Spirit directs. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God", that is the Word which He is continually speaking to our hearts. Sooner or later, there are always dire consequences if we eat thoughtlessly or presumptuously.

Tithing an Investment Against the Curse:
The Hebrews tithed their foodstuffs, that is, they offered to God one tenth of the fruits of their hard labor in the fields.

If there had been no Fall, then no tithe would be necessary. We only need to labor and sweat for our food because of the curse which Adam brought upon humanity. The Hebrews in the desert did not tithe from the manna they gathered, because the Lord provided them freely. The Lord set them a table in the wilderness; the Hebrews took only what they needed, and the Lord took back the rest by causing it to melt away. It would have been inappropriate for them to offer a tithe of manna, because it was not something they worked for. It cost them nothing -- how could they offer it to God? They were guests at God's feast -- how could they make a gift of the food that was God's free gift to them? Nonetheless the Hebrews still made offerings from their flocks and herds. This is appropriate, because they had to work to maintain them.

God originally arranged the world so that our sustenance would be as effortless and spontaneous as plucking apples from a tree. But nature was thrown off balance because of sin. Nature has become like a wobbly bicycle wheel or an imbalanced seesaw, and we must continuously struggle to hold our own against this imbalance. Even so, we can only fight a losing battle. Eventually, our physical bodies will be overwhelmed by the corruption of this present world, and we will die.

All our works suffer attrition because of the sinful, corrupt condition of our world and our own selves. The tithe represents this attrition. But God is working through this attrition and apparent waste to remove the curse and destroy corruption, disease, and death. Just so was Jesus Christ the tithe for mankind, the first fruits of humanity. At first sight, it appears that His life was squandered on the Cross. Nonetheless, through the extravagant waste of His life, provisions were made to rescue the rest of humanity from utter loss.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the sacrifice You made for our sake.  May our lives reflect Your sacrifice.

God's Menu

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. (Ps 34: 10)

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. (Ps. 37:25 )

For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. (Ps. 107: 9)

He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. (Luke 1: 53)

The world is God's restaurant, and we are the customers. Everyday life is the table, the Bible is the menu. Some items listed on the menu may at first seem unappetizing and even repellent. However, we may learn to esteem them as rare delicacies, as spiritual caviar.

There's always plenty of food on the Lord's table. We may view His food as tasteless, and refuse to eat. Then He simply waits until we are hungry enough to take what He abundantly provides. As we cultivate a taste for His food, our fleshly lusts drop away, and our souls are brought into spiritual balance and health.

Here are some items on His menu.

Beverage #1: Milk
1 Peter 2:2    As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Milk is predigested by the mother who gives it.

In our raw, daily experience, it is often difficult for us to see the Lord's hand at work.  It is good for us to read the Scriptures, because the inspired authors do the "seeing" for us.  In effect, they provide us with  “predigested” spiritual food.  They interpret events and parables; they furnish prophecies and fulfillments; they distinguish true from false, and "soul" from "spirit".  Their "food" is far easier to assimilate than our experience, which spiritually is commonly ambiguous and liable to misinterpretation..

It is appropriate that our spiritual "milk" comes from the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the New Covenant (Acts 2:17-18), which is the "mother" of all who believe (Galatians 4:22-31).  This same Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom, which is portrayed as a woman in Proverbs (Proverbs 1:20, 8:1, 9:1).

Beverage #2: New Wine
Luke 5: 39   No man having drunk old wine straightway desires new: for he says, "The old is better."

The Pharisees didn't desire the Gospel, because they were full of the old wine of the Law. When Jesus turned water to wine, the steward thought it was the best -- but he didn't know where it came from!  If he had known, his opinion might have been different.

We always prefer the old and comfortable to the new and unfamiliar. The songs, preaching, and praying which remind us of our past spiritual "highs" we consider to be spiritual -- while other things which don't fit in with our spiritual past seem inferior and ungodly. Entire denominations get locked into patterns, according to how things were when Spirit of God first visited them. 'It worked once, it will work again', they say to themselves. But old wineskins will never be new again.

Do not be prejudiced against the wine because of the vessel it came from. The Gospel transcends any source or label. The Gospel is not socially liberal or conservative. It is not charismatic or evangelical; it is not traditional or untraditional.

Entree #1: His Words
 Job 23:12   I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Is your life a succession of hollow days filled with meaningless drudgery, pain and self-hatred? If so, allow Him to speak fullness and wholeness deep into your bowels:

"You have someone to live for, so your life is worth living. If you can do nothing else, you can love the unlovely, and help them to attain their potential in Christ. You can lay yourself down as the bridge on which they can walk over to Me. Serving them will rescue you from the slough of self-absorption and self-pity. You need them much more than they needs you.

"If you are faithful in little, and I will give you charge over much. Millions of people suffer from the same feelings of insignificance as you. If you allow Me to override your own feelings, then I will give these millions  to you as well -- not to lord over them, but to rejoice in their rejoicing."

His words stick to your ribs -- a little goes a long way. Don't read too much of the Bible -- don't be filled with undigested Scripture, learn to digest what you read.

Entree #2: Doing His Will
John 4:34  My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work

If you are meaningfully and purposefully occupied with the Lord's business, then life is sweet despite all difficulties (indeed, the difficulties even add to the sweetness). The hardest thing to bear is spiritual idleness.

We must learn to fill up the emptiness of idle time with prayer. Then we perceive the abundance of empty time, just as modern physics shows us the intricate structure of "empty" space.  Then we continue to do His will, even when we have "nothing to do".

Entree #3: Tears
Psalm 42:2-3   My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is your God?

When we beg the Lord for spiritual food, and nothing appears forthcoming, then our tears themselves are the food which the Lord intends for us. This food is most nourishing, to us and to others.

Tears may appear bitter, but the Holy Spirit subtly evokes a sweet aftertaste.

Tears spring up when you cannot attain that which you yearn for. Your empty hands hang limply. Your womb is barren and shriveled. You feel as though God has tossed you on the garbage heap.  You hang transfixed on a cross. "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd ; and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and you have brought me into the dust of death." (Psalm 22:14-15)  But God provides you with the refreshment of your own tears.

"For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet." (Psalm 22:16) Look on the "dogs" who encompass you, who ogle and mock your misery. It is for their sake that you hang crucified. In your agony, still you may pant out: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". Then you will become for them the fruit of the tree of life -- and they will become your progeny. Your tears will not be in vain.

Dessert: Marrow and Fatness
Psalm 63:5     My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:

Hebrews 12:2     Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Neh 8:9-10    And Nehemiah ...  said unto all the people, "This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.  Then he said unto them, "Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

John 16:20    Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

Psa 30:5    For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Dessert comes last.  For children especially, the anticipation of dessert adds significantly to the enjoyment of the rest of the meal; but dessert does not come until after the main dinner is finished.  Just so our anticipation of joy adds savor and appreciation to our lives; but we must wait upon the Father until the time when our joy is to be fulfilled.

Desserts are typically high in calories, and low in vitamins.  They bring energy and satiety, but not body-building nutrition; and a little goes a long way.  Let us not over-indulge in flamboyant expressions of joy.  Too much is not genuine.

The Resurrection follows the Cross.  Deep joy comes after deep sorrow.  Let us not short-circuit God's process for bringing us to joy.

Prayer: Lord, we place our spiritual appetites in Your hands.  Those which are corrupted, please correct.  Those which are depraved, please remove.  Those which are underdeveloped, please encourage by Your Spirit.

Spiritual Malnutrition


1 Cor. 11: 20-30 When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one takes before the other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunk. What? don't you have houses to eat and to drink in? or do you despise the church of God, and shame those that have not? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Weakness and sickness comes among Christians when we fail to recognize the Church as the actual Body of the Lord. When the Corinthians did not wait for each other and eat together, they were not recognizing the interdependent functioning of the Body. One unhealthy, deprived organ can cause the whole body to perish.

Weakness and sickness (both spiritual and physical) abounds in the Church today, because the Body is not being discerned. Some parts have practical and material advantages lacked by others, and the entire Body suffers as a result.

Some Christians lack food; others have too much. Some bellies are swollen through malnutrition; others through overindulgence. The hungry suffer pangs, the surfeited have indigestion. Both are equally miserable. Both live far below their potential. The surfeited are to be pitied far more than the hungry. Though they have gained the whole world, they have lost their souls, and become abject slaves to the objects of their desires.

Hungry and surfeited need each other, and each may supply the other's lack. The first step towards partnership must be taken by the hungry. The hungry are able to see the Lord, while their surfeited brethren have their eyes swollen shut through material fatness. The hungry, who are closer to Jesus because they are free from distractions, must reach out in Jesus' stead to heal those blinded by abundance and free those enslaved by their own lusts. The hungry must pray for those who despitefully use them, those who have neglected to share the material blessings they have received from their Father. Their prayers must be moved not by self-interest, but out of love and compassion for those who have been shamefully selfish.

It is the responsibility of the surfeited to share time and resources. It is the responsibility of the hungry to be gracious and responsible when they do receive, and not be bitter they had been deprived for so long what was their due.

The wealthy nations have said, "Are the hungry my responsibility? Am I my brother's keeper?" They momentarily take pity and toss a few pennies to the beggars, then return to their own pleasures.

In Third World countries, 'fat' means healthy and not obese, because undernourishment is so common. But in our society, overweight is God's judgement. Our protruding bellies announce to the world our sinful neglect and self-indulgence. But obese people are not more to be blamed than the rest of our society -- they are merely the weakest and most susceptible to temptation. If the tempting conditions are removed, then the weak will no longer stumble. Why, oh why, do Christians so often serve junk food at church get-togethers, when so many are overweight and struggle with unhealthy eating habits?

Prayer: Father, please open our eyes to our own spiritual emaciation.  Kindle within us a knawing hunger for You.

Spiritual Indigestion

Gen 24: 33 And there was set food before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat , until I have told my errand.

1 Ki 13:15-22 Then he said to him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with you, nor go in with you: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, You shall eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that you came. He said unto him, I am a prophet also as you are; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with you into your house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied to him. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus says the LORD, Forasmuch as you have disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and have not kept the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you, but came back, and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to you, Eat no bread, and drink no water; your carcass shall not come unto the sepulchre of your fathers.

There are many accounts in Scripture where the protagonists did not eat. Jonathan did not eat after Saul expressed his murderous intentions against David. The disciples did not eat when they were busy ministering with Jesus. If they had eaten under such stressful and stimulating circumstances, they probably would have gotten indigestion.

As I get older, I have to be more and more careful and deliberate with my eating. Even one or two bites of the wrong thing at the wrong time will throw my digestion off for days. I have learned to beware of thoughts like: "Just another bite", "It's a shame to waste this", "I'd better hurry up and finish eating", "If no one else wants this, I'll finish it", and so on.

We must guard against self-indulgence. We must ward against the most innocuous worldly thoughts, especially those which seem most reasonable, and most of all when they come from people we like and want to please. We are most vulnerable when we are hungry, because we tend to drop our guard in our haste to ease the pains of our craving.

It's better to refuse food and appear impolite, than to accept and preserve social appearances but later on suffer deep regrets. Such false politeness is dishonest and springs from an unhealthy fear of others' opinions. God wants to teach us to fear Him and do what's right, regardless of what others think.

Prayer: Lord, please center us in You. May hearing from You and pleasing You become our all-encompassing preoccupation. Then we will no longer suffer from the consequences of our own foolishness.

Food Processing


Revelation 22:18-19 (MKJV) For I testify together to everyone who hears the Words of the prophecy of this Book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add on him the plagues that have been written in this Book. And if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy, God will take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which have been written in this Book.
Psalm 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect (complete, full, sound, whole)
Ecclesiastes 5:2  Do not be rash with your mouth, and do not let your heart be hasty to say a word before God. For God is in Heaven, and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few.

We must be careful about adding to God’s words.  We may amplify or paraphrase as we attempt to fully appreciate and understand them --  but let us never lose sight of the originals.  And above all let us never attribute our own additions to God.
Now, God spoke the world into existence.  Just as we should be careful about adding to the written Word, so we should be scrupulously careful about each and every addition or modification we make to the creation He has enunciated.  Hitherto our lack of care has caused horrific destruction of nature and environment – and of ourselves.

God has created food for us (Gen 2:9) which is nourishing and flavorful.  We should appreciate what He has given us, and be chary in our changes.  But we are not.  We combine, refine,  reprocess.  We jelly and jam, fry and roast, boil, bake, and broil.  We salt and spice. We blend, puree, mash.  Did not God give us hands, teeth, tongue, salivary glands, stomach, and a host of other body parts to perform the physical and chemical processing necessary  that our food might be assimilated?

It is amusing that many “Natural” food aficionados promote the  use of juicers.  As if juicers were found in nature!  If we get machines to do all the processing for us, then what good are teeth?  What are our digestive systems to do, but flaccidly soak up the nutrients they were originally designed to extract?  No wonder our bellies spill over our belts like fat slugs.

Most food processing and preparation originally had a preservative or sanitary purpose.  But this purpose has been entirely lost sight of  in our quest for gastronomical experiences.
Our digestion and general health has suffered the consequences, just as the environment has suffered due to our wanton use of nature.

The recent discovery that food fiber aids digestion should be taken as a warning signal, that our dietary elaborations may have unforeseen and unpleasant consequences.

Prayer: Father, teach me to simply appreciate the goodness of Your creation.  May my efforts complement, and not contradict, Your creativity.

Appendix:  Probability of the  "literal presence" of Jesus' body and blood at Communion

Eighty percent of the human body is water. Assuming that Jesus weighed about 100 pounds, this would mean that there was about 0.8*100/2.2 or 35 kg. of  water in Jesus’ body.  Human beings have about 4 liters of blood, of which roughly 3 liters is water.  Hence there was about 3 kg of water in Jesus' blood.

The bread and wine sevings at Communion weigh about one and two grams, respectively.  Of this, at least 60 percent is water, which means that we ingest about two grams of water at Communion.  Two grams of water is about 1/9 mole (since the molecular weight of water is 18), which means roughly (6E23) / 9 or 6.6E22 molecules of water (note that 'E23' means 'times 10 to the 23 power').  Since water comprises 1 oxygen and 2 hydrogen atoms, this means 1.3E23 hydrogen atoms.

The weight of the Earth's lithosphere (crust and mantle) is about 1.5E26 g, under the assumption of a thickness of 100 km and density of 3 g/cc (I obtained these figures from the Internet).  From this, we may approximate the weight of water in the Earth's crust and atmosphere as 1.5E26 / (5*3) = 1E25 g, assuming a layer of water averaging 20 km thick covering the entire earth (this should be a generous assumption, since 10 km. is about as deep as the deepest part of the ocean).

Now almost all of the hydrogen in the Earth's crust and atmosphere is contained in water.  Therefore the proportion of this hydrogen which was contained in Jesus' body was about  (35,000 g)/(1E25 g) = 3.5E-21.

Assuming that this surface hydrogen has mixed uniformly since the time of Jesus (note that water molecules dissociate via collision, and although the dissociation fraction is small [1E-14], the number of collisions per second is large (billions) and the time interval is very large [2000 years]); and assuming that a negligible fraction of hydrogen has been lost to or gained  from the outer universe, we find that the probability that NO hydrogen  from Jesus' body is present in any given Communion serving is less than { 1 - 3.5E-21 }^(1.3E23), which is roughly exp(-455) or about 1E-197, which is one out of a a hundred thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion.

Similarly, the probability that NO hydrogen from Jesus' blood is present is less than exp(-39) or 1E-17, which is one out of a hundred thousand trillion.

Something to think about!

Caveat emptor:   From a quantum mechanical standpoint the above computation is questionable.  In quantum mechanics we cannot really talk about the "same" atom, because we cannot talk about the "same" electron or the "same" proton.  Individual electrons and protons are not considered as 'taggable' objects.  All electrons are absolutely indistinguishable, as are all protons, and can only be accurately described by their respective joint wavefunctions (which are totally antisymmetric under interchange).

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Last Revised: March 20, 1999

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