The Life Connected to our Food
Read Proverbs 27:23-27
"Know well the condition of your flocks,and give attention to your herds; for riches do not last forever,nor a crown for all generations."
Reflection: In the last couple of years, my spouse and I have augmented our normal prayer before meals by adding the following line: “and thank you for this life that gives us life.” We did this because of our growing personal awareness that our ability to live comes at a cost – the life of another living being, whether vegetable or animal. We’ve intentionally grown more aware of where our food comes from, especially meat, and the means by which it was brought to our table, and our need to be aware of those realities – and to give God thanks for this life that gives us life. Such awareness has often caused me to pause at the dinner table and appreciate the cycles of life and death, and life again, that are eternally patterned into the very fabric of existence.
The writer of Proverbs says that we should know “your sheep by name” and “carefully attend to your flocks,” suggesting a deeper connection to what allows for life than we normally acknowledge in our era of factory farms, and the magic of grocery store freezer. And in the midst of the disconnection most of us experience, we even find a disconnection to those fellow travelers who serve us the very means of our survival – and that disconnection manifests itself in the low wages we often pay these fellow travelers. We express our disconnection to life, and the life of other beings that allows us to continue to live, by paying so little to those who do the sacred work of feeding us. We should commit ourselves to fixing every broken part of the food chain, but during this Lenten season let’s commit ourselves to fixing the injustice of paying low wages to those who do such important sacred work.
By The Rev. Kevin McLemore, Epiphany UCC, Chicago
Prayer: Dear God, remind us of the importance of all beings, of all creatures, but especially make us aware of those who do the sacred work of preparing our food, and empower us to advocate and fight for a fair living wage. Amen.