By John Grant
â€œLet’s have a feast and celebrate.â€? Luke 15:23-24
Being in China for nearly two weeks was a great and memorable experience. We have great memories of the people we met, the places we went and the sights we saw. But perhaps no memory is as vivid as what we ate and how we ate it.
In my travels around the work I am always reminded that one thing all human beings have in common is a need to eat, but what they eat and how they eat it differs vastly from country to country and culture to culture. I recently visited an Ethiopian restaurant where it is customary to have no utensils and to scoop up the food with a small pancake held between the thumb and first finger. In China, we used chopsticks and I got pretty good at using them by the time we left.
The Chinese have a belief that they eat anything on four legs, except for the table and anything that goes under water except a submarine and anything that flies except for an airplane. And, they eat all of it. We ate strange things like pigeon, jelly fish and other strange things that seemed to taste better if I didnâ€™t ask for them to be identified.
I donâ€™t think we missed a day eating duck and we ate every part of the duck except for the feathers and the â€œquackâ€?â€¦ duck heart, duck tongue, duck feet and other suspect but unidentifiable parts of Donald and Daisy. Actually, I didnâ€™t eat anything that I didnâ€™t like, as evidenced by the ten pounds I gained on the trip.
Actually, there is a spiritual parallel here.Â Two thousand years ago, a feast was the center point of celebration, as it often is today. In telling the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus suggested that they â€œhave a feast and celebrate.â€? Celebrate the food? No, celebrate the greet homecoming of the son.
So too, with us, we should celebrate as we feast, celebrating not only the food before us, but celebrating all that God has blessed us with and done for us. Thatâ€™s where the tradition of praying before meals came from. As the menu and style of eating differs from one place to another, the God to whom we give thanks is ever present in every meal. We felt His presence with us in China whether our host was praying in English or in Chinese. We were all praying to one God and what language can separate the Spirit united.
Remember as you feast, no matter whether you are eating with a fork or chop sticks or dining on sirloin or bamboo sprouts, take time to feast on prayer and on the Spirit of God that unites us all.
(a thought on life from John Grant )
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John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney. He is an active writer and frequent speaker.Â He can be reached by e-mail at John.Grant@johngrant.net