Last week I talked about our need to pay attention to our lives. I reflected on the need to listen deeply and look closely, but as I reflected on that this week I realized there are far more ways to pay attention than looking and listening. There are five senses through which we perceive the world, yet when it comes to paying attention you would sometimes think there are only two.
Taste and see that the Lord is good Psalm 34:8 tells us. How do we taste and savour the flavour of God I wonder? My husband and I both love to cook special meals for friends and family, but tasting those meals is far more than sitting down at table. It’s certainly not a fast food meal. Its a wonderful slow experience.
Any good meal begins with anticipation, and not just of the food, but also of the friends and fellowship and family who will enjoy it with us. We imagine the flavours we want to experience, delighting in them as we savour them in our minds, remembering nostalgically the last time we enjoyed them. We think of the people we want to invite to enjoy the meal with us and even anticipate the wonderful process of preparing the meal.
What does it mean I wonder to anticipate the taste of God? How do we prepare to savour the flavour of God’s presence? I think it probably is little like getting ready for a banquet feast.
A lot of work goes into the tasting of a festive meal.
If we are really on top of our game, it begins with planting the vegetables we want to incorporate in it. Brandywine tomatoes for Tom’s famous Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, bock choy for Phad Thai, basil for pesto and olive tapenade. We till the soil, plant the seed and diligently water and fertilize them until they are ready to harvest. We pull out the recipe books and check out our favourite internet cooking sites, exploring the dishes that might fulfill our desire for new flavours. We check our cooking utensils making sure we have everything we need, recruit a few good helpers as sou chefs, iron the best tablecloth and serviettes and plan for a festive day. And as the day approaches we gather our ingredients – a trip to the garden, another to the pantry, and a final trip to the farmers’ market and the supermarket.
At the same time we make out our invitation list – friends, family, strangers too. All get invited to a truly festive meal.
Then the cooking begins. With much hilarity and fun, the ingredients are diced, chopped and blended and soon fragrant spices fill the house. They tantalize our taste buds. By the time we put the food on the table, our whole body is ready for the feast.
What does it mean to prepare to taste of the goodness of God? What seeds to do we need to plant months in advance to enjoy the taste to its fulness? What tools do we need to help us prepare? Who do we invite to experience it with us?
Tasting the Goodness of God
A festive meal is a wonderful, joyful experience at which we truly taste of the goodness of God. We admire the table decorations and enter into the laughter and enlivening conversations. We pile our plates with wonderful food and fill our glasses with the best of wine. We sit down with our guests and relish all that is set before us.
Tasting a good meal is not just an experience for our taste buds. It is an experience that stirs all our senses and invites us into a community of fellowship and rich enjoyment. It is an experience that stays with us long after we walk out the door and return home. It will be evoked next time we catch a whiff of the same aromas that greeted us as we walked through the door.
We can experience the banquet feast of God and taste of the goodness of God every time we enter the presence of God fully prepared to savour all that God offers us. What are your favourite flavours? What are the festive celebrations that give you a taste of the goodness of God?
Watch this short excerpt from Babette’s Feast, (or the entire movie if you have time) one of the most beautiful depictions of the preparation and tasting of a festive meal. What would you be willing to do to prepare a feast of finest wine and richest food in order to truly experience the goodness of God.