God at the Dinner Table

Love Your Body, Love the Earth (Creation)…

I would posit that this series is really about Love Your Body, Love Creation. Yes, we live on the planet Earth but to just call it a planet is to diminish its significance and its miracle of existence. There are lots of planets but we have yet to find one nearby that sustains life. Everything in creation is connected and as science has born out when you affect one system you affect all systems. As humans we are part of the creation system. We, the love your body love the earth bloggers, are making the connection between your body’s wellness and your soul’s wellness and the wellness of the Earth on which we all depend. As this series goes on we will be talking science, ecology (of the body and the Earth) and in what ways we can honor creation by taking care of it as best we can. Today, I’m talking about food and the ways we use it to not only nourish our bodies but to help us flourish in our lives. When we flourish we are living to our full potential listening to the calling of our souls.

I believe food is a miracle from God. All of creation is alive and food grows in soil that is alive. Food not only fills our bellies and satisfies our physical hunger but it stimulates our senses with its beauty in all of nature’s glorious colors, its fabulous aroma, its sensuous textures, and last but not least its delightful tastes. Food is an organic way of connecting to our souls by taking us away from our brains and ideas to sensing the world as a wonderFull, caring and loving place. Babies learn this in their caretaker’s arms.

God’s creation sustains us with all of the delights that grow on this green Earth. It’s a feeling of radical amazement: Amazing that we are here, amazing that food just grows, amazing that other creatures exist, amazing we have water, sun, dirt, and each other. Meals on your plate can reflect all of this wonder: Real foods: like vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, meat, butter, olive oil, cheese, herbs, spices, and Bread.dinner-party

The foods we choose to put on the plate are a reflection of our values, our culture, and our feelings. Making a delicious meal with real ingredients from whole foods connects us to God and God’s creation. As Christians we value this connection when we say grace at the table. When we eat together we are sharing in this grace. Food is a conduit for communion with God, family, and your community. God has provided food for us as an expression of love and we provide food for others as an expression of our love for them. It’s a demonstration of our love and respect for those at our tables.”

Hospitality around the table creates sacred space for love, sharing, caring, and God. Holding space around the table for one another is sacred and meaningful. At the table we can be ourselves and leave behind all the day’s worries. Conversation flows as we share with each other our hopes, our joys and our concerns. We bond with each at the table and in this sacred space we have carved out for each other Love is expressed and received at the table. God is found in the spaces between us at the table.

Here at CHPC, we take in the full flavor of life. Our “Food for the Soul” Community House meals are building a community of faith, hope, love and justice centered around the table where everyone is welcome. In what ways

 

About Those K-CUPS!

POSTED ON BEHALF OF REV. BILL SADLER, Author –
kcupSometimes we have been offered solutions to problems we didn’t have. I mean how hard is it to make a cup of coffee?  But, here we are with 9 billion coffee pods or K-cups sold in 2015 and “precisely zero of them can be easily recycled.”   Were those tiny little pods placed end to end they would encircle the earth ten times!
But, they say they are improving. The new company is Green Mountain, so its got to be environmentally good.  BUT, the plastic cup,which comes from oil, has an almost eternal lifespan, and its topper is aluminum.  So, I would say that there was no problem with brewing coffee, but there is now, if one uses these single-serve machines and the paraphernalia that pollutes our world.  Want to know lots more about this?  See the NYTimes article by David Gelles on April 17th or check it out online at The New York Times K-Cup Recyclable but Hardly Eco-friendly.  – Bill Sadler

Let’s Add in for Lent!

At the beginning of this year, I wrote about not making resolutions to change a habit, begin a new habit, or lose weight but to resolve to be happy. I invited you to join me to resolve to be joyous happy this year by cultivating a practice of daily gratitude. Many of us at Community House have joined together to practice gratitude daily by entering into our journals every evening 3 things we were grateful for that day. Some of us have even been sharing our daily gratitudes with each other once a week in a private Facebook group. We are cheering each other on and bearing witness to each other’s lives. You’re not grateful because you are happy, you’re happy because you are grateful.

Let’s build on this theme of cultivating happiness and satisfaction in life as we move into the season of Lent next week by expanding on our daily practice of cultivating true happiness. Most people “give up” something for the Lenten season as a spiritual practice. I’d like to shake that up a bit and suggest that instead of taking away from our lives this season that we instead “add into” our lives. As a health coach, I love working with my clients and helping them meet their healthy lifestyle goals not by taking things away from them like “weight loss diets” often do but by helping them to add in things that support a healthy lifestyle.

The theory goes that as you add into your diet and lifestyle healthy foods and practices you then “crowd out” unhealthy ones. When you add plant-based whole foods into your diet cravings diminish because your nutritional needs are met and the fiber in the plants naturally curbing hunger. I’d like to apply this paradigm to our spiritual health as well. Let’s add in healthy practices that support us body and soul so as to crowd out practices that do not.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Instead of giving up meat, add in green leafy vegetables
  • Instead of giving up chocolate, start being more social, or take a walk with a loved one

You get the idea. Leave some comments below about what healthy practices you’d like to add into your life that support health and wellness for your body and soul.

Feeling Light as a Feather in the New Year

logo-trinity

I’ve decided my New Year’s resolution will have nothing to do with achieving goals. That’s not to say that I don’t want to accomplish specific things this year. Surely I do.

This year I will not make a resolution to lose weight, or to change a habit, or to begin a new healthy habit. I’ve decided to take a different approach and I invite you to join me. How about this year we resolve to be happy? Truly joyously happy. The kind of joy and happiness that really floats your boat. The kind that makes you feel light as a feather.

The hope of a New Year and the resolutions we make aren’t really about achieving a specific goal. They are always about how achieving that goal will make us feel.feather-sky350

Each and every goal we make and attend to in life has an underlying core desired feeling we wish to experience. We want to lose weight not because we want to be thin but because we want to feel attractive, healthy, or energetic. We don’t make money goals because we want to be rich, we make them to feel free or to feel accomplished or because we think that fancy car will make us feel happy. We make resolutions because we want to feel happy.

Ultimately, we all want to feel happy and research has shown that those of us who practice gratitude daily are the happiest. This year I resolve to practice gratitude purposefully and to do it daily. I resolve to feel joyful every single day this year even in the face of whatever hardship may come my way.

In his book Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer, Brother David Steindl-Rast states, “Ordinary happiness depends on happenstance. Joy is that extraordinary happiness that is independent of what happens to us. Good luck can make us happy, but it cannot give us lasting joy. The root of joy is gratefulness. We tend to misunderstand the link between joy and gratefulness.We notice that joyful people are grateful and suppose that they are grateful for their joy. But the reverse is true: their joy springs from gratefulness. If one has all the good luck in the world, but takes it for granted, it will not give one joy. Yet even bad luck will give joy to those who manage to be grateful for it.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands. It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., who is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and also the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology, talks about many particular reasons to cultivate gratitude in your daily life. I’ll highlight 2 of those reasons today.

He says Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present. It magnifies positive emotions. Research on emotion shows that positive emotions wear off quickly. Our emotional systems like newness. They like novelty. They like change. We adapt to positive life circumstances so that before too long, the new car, the new spouse, the new house—they don’t feel so new and exciting anymore.

But gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.

In effect, He says gratitude allows us to participate more in life. We notice the positives more, and that magnifies the pleasures you get from life. Instead of adapting to goodness, we celebrate goodness.

Dr. Emmons also says Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret—emotions that can destroy our happiness. There’s even recent evidence, including a 2008 study by psychologist Alex Wood in the Journal of Research in Personality, showing that gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression.

This makes sense: You cannot feel envious and grateful at the same time. They’re incompatible feelings. If you’re grateful, you can’t resent someone for having something that you don’t. Research he’s done suggests that people who have high levels of gratitude have low levels of resentment and envy.

So every evening before bed get out your gratitude journal and join me by writing down 3 things you are grateful for. Let’s start cultivating gratitude so we can be truly joyful and spread it into the world as a calling. Let’s approach the New Year with concern for our hearts because we want to feel joy. The kind of joy that uplifts you, the kind of joy that comes from gratitude for this life we have. The kind of joy that makes you feel light as a feather.

Here is a prayer for gratitude. Please pray with me.

Adapted from: Prayer of Thanksgiving by Vienna Cobb Anderson

God of all blessings,
source of all life,
giver of all grace:

We thank you for the gift of life:
for the breath
that sustains life,
for the food of this earth
that nurtures life,
for the love of family and friends
without which there would be no life.

We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty
that the eye can see,
for the joy
that the ear may hear,
for the unknown
that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder,
for the expanse of space
that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.

We thank you for setting us in communities:
for families
who nurture our becoming,
for friends
who love us by choice,
for companions at work,
who share our burdens and daily tasks,
for strangers
who welcome us into their midst,
for people from other lands
who call us to grow in understanding,
for children
who lighten our moments with delight,
and
who offer us hope for the future.

We thank you for this day:
for life
and one more day to love,
for opportunity
and one more day to work for justice and peace,
for neighbors
and one more person to love
and by whom be loved,
for your grace
and one more experience of your presence,
for your promise:
to be with us.

For these, and all blessings,
we give you thanks, eternal, loving God,
Amen.