Thursday, May 25, 2017

Worshiping Our Palates

In the first scene of the movie The Last of the Mohicans, three American Indians are climbing a  mountain in a hunt. They pass a waterfall and small stream and spot an elk. One of the Indians takes aim. The music stops and we hear a loud sound as one of the Indians shoots the elk and we see the elk fall to the ground. They rush to the side of the elk. The oldest of the three speaks: We're sorry for killing you, brother."  A religious-like ceremony follows with these words uttered. "We respect your courage, speed, and strength." They all kneel at the side of the elk and in an expression of sorrow caress the elk.

He changes channels and is presented with more of our societies concern with eating. We see all kinds of animal and plant life but it is only food for us to eat. We see only its freshness and forget its wonder and mystery. A seminary rector with these words begins his article in With Bible magazine on the phrase of the Our Father: "Give us this day our daily bread."

In the Old Testament eating of meat was only allowed after the flood in Noah's time. At creation, we were not given permission. "I give you all the seed-bearing plants that are upon the whole earth, and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; this shall be your food." (Gen. 1:29). We were given permission after the flood to eat the flesh of animals but with one condition:  "You must not eat flesh with life, that is to say; blood, in it" (Gen. 9:3).

This changed for Christians after Jesus. It is not difficult to understand how shocking were the words of Jesus to the Jews when they heard:  "Eat my flesh and drink my blood" (John 6: 58).

We understand the words give us our daily bread as referring to the Eucharist but primarily it is the food we need daily for sustenance. It's not 'my' but 'our', not what we have stored but my daily sustenance. In our society food is left over and thrown away and others go to bed hungry. 

According to World Food Programme (WFP), one person out of nine live with hunger. Another statistic tells us that under the age of 5 over two and half million die of malnutrition. We know the large number who are overweight. 

35 percent of the grain is fed to animals. Over the past 50 years, the consummation of meat has increased twofold. The large amounts of meat consumed in the developed countries have accelerated the climate change. ( Many do not see the relationship between meat consumption and climate change)

We have developed a very delicate palate. Our mass media has helped to make gourmets of us all. A word that was not in the dictionary of the past we magnify to a degree that  closes ourselves off from what is important. When did our 'taste buds' become so important? We need to stop worshiping our palates  and our gourmet sensibilities and hear the cries of the suffering and hungry.

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