Taste and See That the Lord Is Good!

November 23, 2013

I have often said that God’s biggest competition in my life was food. Of the seven deadly sins, gluttony has been at the top of the list too many times. So you can imagine how I anticipate the possibility of losing taste while undergoing chemotherapy with Cisplatin. Any medicine with the word “platinum” in the name can’t be good for a foodie like me.

I have been wondering when this taste bud transformation would take place, because it hasn’t yet on Day 9 of treatment. Tonight, I celebrated that fact by enjoying the perfect dinner a friend brought to our table: roasted pork loin with baked pear slices, dilled carrots, mashed potatoes, spinach/strawberry salad, and chocolate chip cookies.

First of all—I hope Karen is reading this—it was a Naegeli kind of meal: full of color, nutrition, fresh vegetables and fruit, lovely seasoning, “the perfect dinner.” But it was the cookies that did me in: homemade, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies with walnuts and real butter. I bit into that aromatic dough and tasted every element of it bursting in my mouth. And I just cried; it was so delicious and good. That one cookie may very well be the highlight of my whole Thanksgiving week.

Have you ever thought about why the Psalmist would exclaim, “O taste and see that the LORD is good! (Ps. 34:8), and “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psa. 119:103). Taste is perhaps the overlooked sense, the fifth, after sight, hearing, touch, and smell. These senses are the means God gave us to take reality in to ourselves, to gather what is actual out there and bring it into our own reality in here. One or more of our senses may be compromised (or enhanced) by illness, disability, or gifting; but there are a total of five to help us keep in touch with that which is outside ourselves. I think of autistic Temple Grandin, who organizes her world visually; blind Ken Medema who captures and communicates his world through sound; Helen Keller, who was finally reached through touch; and four little children enticed by the smell of grandma’s fresh pears on an Illinois summer’s afternoon. I think of Jesus, who gathered the miraculous power of God at a wedding in Cana, during which he changed water into wine that became the best vintage of the day (John 2).

So when Jesus commanded his disciples to “Take, eat, this is my Body given for you,” and “Drink this cup in remembrance of me,” he was inviting us to ingest his very presence. Jesus so wants us to understand that God’s sovereignty out there is a reality in our souls, that bursts out upon our tongue of proclamation and zooms down the spiritual pipeline of digestion and energy conversion. The Holy Spirit urges us to open our mouths, take some of God’s Word, chew it, and meditate and taste the sweetness of life centered on Christ and lived in the Spirit’s power.

In light of the colorless, dim, and disorganized world of this age, governed (only for a time) by the evil one who would diminish our senses so as not to discover God, we must cling to the vibrant beauty around us. This is why, in Christian community, the visual arts are so important. Together we can gaze at a painting by Makoto Fujimura and bleed with God’s compassion. This is why, in Christian community, music is so vital. Together we can sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord and get in touch with the grandeur of heaven like the choirs of Revelation. In Christian community, we practice hospitality as one way to share the aroma and taste of God’s good provision, and why we hug one another at “the kiss of peace” during worship. These are all ways the spiritual reality of God gets from God’s realm into our hearts, part of the blessing God has poured into us by his Holy Spirit.

As we go into the Lord’s Day this weekend— Reformed and Presbyterian as some of my readers are, others as Lutherans, Catholics, and people under the burden of cancer—let us consider what there is to taste and see of God. How is it, on Christ the King Sunday, that we might experience God as Victor over the Beasts that seek to work us woe? In what way can we take in the life of Christ and allow him to overshadow our fears, our discomforts, our deficits, even our disbelief? I am reminded by that chocolate chip cookie that God can break through at the most unexpected moments and shout, “I’m here! See me! Touch me! Hear me! Smell me! Taste me!” And then food, as an example, becomes not an end in itself but more profoundly an invitation to worship the Creator and Sustainer of Life.

 

 

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6 Responses to “Taste and See That the Lord Is Good!”

  1. houstonhodges Says:

    That’s me, too. I dig.

  2. emd5542 Says:

    Taking a statin and struggling with weight control keep me fairly disciplined about food but I savor every one of your posts.

  3. An observer Says:

    And so people who are overweight are guilty of the sin of gluttony. And in you logic about gays—unrepentent sinners-it then follows those who are obese should be barred from ministry.

  4. Bruce Pope Says:

    Wonderful.

  5. Bob Bullock Says:

    Mary, I must confess that I have just now caught up on your November blogs and the news of your treatments. Know of my prayers and admiration for you as you traverse these challenging days. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us and for modeling for us the stuff that a journey of faith is made of.

    In Jesus,

    Bob Bullock

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