Food, Faith, and God’s Good Creation

— Andy Wade —

In Sabbath experience, the deep meaning of creation is revealed as the freedom of each creature to realize its God-given potential, and in that freedom to offer its worship back to God. — Norman Wirzba

Lenten RoseIn preparation for writing with Christine Sine the sequel to her book, To Garden with God, as well as preparing for leading our workshop, Justice at the Table, later this year, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading and reflecting. Just how do food and faith fit together? What are the various intersections between food, faith, justice, stewardship, and caring for creation?

I appreciate how Wirzba, early on in his book, Food and Faith: a Theology of Eating, explores the whole issue of Sabbath. Pulling us back toward our roots in the creation story, we discover that God’s “rest”, God’s Shabbat, was not rest because of exhaustion, but rest as enjoyment of the creation God formed and declared “good”.° As ones created in the image of God, this is indeed an appropriate place to begin!

Over the next several months I will periodically be posting my journey on this road with God and this amazingly good creation. Sometimes I will flesh out the details. Other times, like today, I will simply comment on some aspect of this journey and let the questions hang in the air.

Wirzba goes on to quote both Jurgen Moltmann and Abraham Joshua Heschel (below). For my part, I’m including a short (25 min.) PBS video on various aspects of our food production system (also below). This video is not an in-your-face kind of video about industrial agriculture, but more gently raises questions about how our food is produced and where it comes from.

Please take some time to watch the video while allowing Moltmann, Heschel, and Wirzba’s words to swirl in your mind.

  • How does this all fit together for you?
  • Where do you most experience the intersection of food, faith, and worship?
  • Is it possible to truly worship God and enter into God’s gift of Sabbath while distancing ourselves from how, where, and by whom our food is produced?
  • During your time of listening and reflection, what insights did you gain?

The Sabbath…is more than an armistice, more than an interlude; it is a profound conscious harmony of man and the world, a sympathy for all things and a participation in the spirit that unites what is below and what is above. — Abraham Joshua Heschel

The goal and completion of every Jewish and every Christian doctrine of creation must be the doctrine of Sabbath. — Jurgen Moltmann

°Norman Wirzba, Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, p. 45. Heschel and Moltmann quotes are also referenced on this page.