Thank you for joining the Partners in Health and Wholeness Book Club. You can officially sign-up here. Through it, we hope to engage people of faith in discussions over why our health matters. Our current choice of reading is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver. We are posting updates through the PHW Facebook page, but our PHW blog page has the discussion posts in full with responses from staff. Just look for the apple on top of the book picture among the blog post pictures and you will find past Book Club entries.
Many will travel long distances to visit friends and family, especially when they know good food will be waiting when they arrive, right? That’s how it goes with the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle family. In this chapter, entitled, “Gratitude,” Kingsolver’s friends travel to be with her as she cooks up an exquisite meal to celebrate her birthday. Since they have vowed to live off of foods from their local land for an entire year, planning a big birthday bash (which is planned around people rather than when foods are in season) proved to be more difficult. Usually one would hire a caterer, pick a theme, and go for it. However, all the suggested themes involved not only imported styles of preparing food, but imported food itself — no tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants were locally available in May. However, the menu turned out to be incredible — made even more so because it was the product of so many friends, farmers, and families in the community contributing what they did have available in late May. How much more beautiful did this meal become because of the effort, thought, and community put into it?
As Kingsolver reflected about her friends and neighbors harvesting their crops to contribute to the meal, she writes, “I felt grateful to the people involved, and the animals also. I don’t say this facetiously. I sent my thanks across the country, like any sensible person saying grace before a meal.” This is, in my opinion, what life is all about — giving thanks for what we have. Bringing a community together to gather around the bounty that God has given us and provided for us. It is meant for sharing and for fellowship, to bring about health and to prevent disease through healthy food, laughter and love.
1) One of the key things we can do as Christ followers is to give thanks through prayer. How often do you pray for your food? Do you also pray for and acknowledge all those it took to bring that meal to your plate? If you have a favorite prayer for mealtime please share below.
2) Have you had a thoughtful meal like the one Kingsolver describes? What was it like? What made it so meaningful for you?
–Amelia Brady, PHW Regional Assistant
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the North Carolina Council of Churches. PHW aims to connect health as a faith issue. Please visit our website to sign your personal pledge to be healthier, and to find out about grant opportunities for places of worship in NC.